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guard, and with one accord rushed from their intrenchments,. with their axes slung: round their necks. At a certain distance the fugitives were joined by a body of troops stationed for the purpose, and wheeled round upon their pursuers, who, surprised in their disorder, were assailed with lances and swords, whose strokes they could not ward off, both hands being occupied in managing their heavy battle-axes. Their ranks once broken,, the entrances of the redoubts were forced; horse and foot rushed in together; but a desperate hand to hand combat was still maintained. Duke William had his horse killed under him. Harold and his two brothers fell dead at the foot of their standard, which was instantly plucked out of the ground, and replaced by the banner which had been sent from Rome. The remains of the English army prolonged the struggle till it became dark, and the combatants could only distinguish each other by their language.
"The few surviving companions of Harold dispersed in all directions; many died on the roads in consequence of their woundsand fatigue. The Norman horse pursued them relentlessly, and gave quarter to none. The Normans remained all night on the tield of battle; and at daybreak the duke drew up his troops, and made the names of all the men who had come across the sea with him be called over from the roll which had been prepared before they left the port of St Valery. A vast number of these now lay dead or dying, stretched side by side with the vanquished. Saxons. The fortunate survivors received, as the first fruits of their victory, the plunder of the slain. In examining the dead bodies, thirteen were found with the monkish habit under theirarmour. These were the abbot of Hida, and his twelve companions; and the name of their monastery was the first inscribed m the black-book of the conquerors."
The body of King Harold lay for some time in the field, and could not be found. At length the monks who searched for it applied to a woman whom Harold had loved before he was made king, and asked her to accompany and assist them. Her name was Edith Swanes-hals, or Edith the Swan-necked. She succeeded, better than they had done, in finding out the corpse of her lover. The spot on which the engagement took place has since been known by the name of Battle.
THE NORMANS MARCH UPON LONDON—WILLIAM CROWNED KING THE CONQUEST COMPLETED.
The battle of Hastings decided the fate of England; but much remained to be done before the country could be considered as entirely conquered. The news of Harold's death spread quickly over the land, and the Saxon chiefs consulted who should be appointed his successor to the throne. Neither of his two sons was old enough; his brothers-in-law, Edwin and Morkar, the Earls of Mercia and Northumberland, had some partisans; but the general wish of the inhabitants of London and the neighbourhood -was in favour of Edgar Atheling, or Edgar the Illustrious, the strand-nephew of Edward the Confessor. Edgar, a weak young man, was accordingly proclaimed king. Many, however, and particularly some of the superior clergy, were in favour of submission to the Conqueror, recommended as he was by the authority of the pope. Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, and Eldrea, archbishop of York, adhered to Edgar Atheling.
Edgar's reign was soon to be brought to a conclusion. After remaining for some days near Hastings, William and his army marched against Dover, the castle of which capitulated. Then, reinforced by fresh troops which had arrived from Normandy, he advanced through Kent towards London. A body of horse, however, which he had sent in advance of the army, having been repulsed by the Saxons in Southwark, he judged it prudent to make a circuit before approaching the city. Crossing the Thames, therefore, at Wallingford, he advanced to Berkhamstead, in Hertfordshire, and there encamped, sending out parties in all directions to lay the country waste. Meanwhile the inhabitants of London were divided among themselves as to the course of conduct which they should pursue. Edwin and Morkar, with other patriots, had retired into the northern provinces, resolved to make a stand against the Conqueror there; Edgar Atheling, and Archbishops Stigand and Eldred, were unable without their assistance to defend the city; and the great body of the common citizens, with the hanse or municipal corporation at their head, were disposed to make terms with the Conqueror, and sent a deputy to his camp to ascertain whether he would guarantee them their ancient liberties if they surrendered to his rule. In these circumstances, nothing remained for Edgar but to resign his crown. Accordingly, he and his court, including the archbishops of Canterbury and York, Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, and a number of other nobles and ecclesiastics, repaired to the Norman camp at Berkhamstead, and tendered their allegiance to Duke William, who in turn made them promises of kind treatment. The Norman army then marched directly upon London, and quartered themselves in the city as its lords and masters.
At a council of war, held in the camp near London by the Norman chiefs, it was debated whether William should be immediately crowned king of England, or whether the Conquest should, in the first place, be pursued somewhat farther. William himself, for some secret reason, seemed inclined to delay his assumption of the throne; but the chiefs, stirred up by the eloquence of Aimery de Thouars, a captain of the auxiliaries from Poitou, insisted that his coronation should take place immediately; and to this arrangement the Saxons were obliged to consent. Accordingly, Christmas-day, 1066, was appointed for the performance of the ceremony. On that day William, and the chiefs of his army, amounting to two hundred and sixty, walked in procession from the Norman camp to Westminster" Abbey between two lines of Norman soldiers. The streets were crowded with spectators, and all the approaches to the abbey were guarded by Normans. In the abbey were already assembled a number of Saxons, whom their fears induced to be present to assist at the ceremony. After William and the Norman barons entered the church, Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, addressed the Normans who were present in the French language, and demanded whether it was their opinion that their duke ought to assume the title of king of the English; and at the same time Eldred, archbishop of York (Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, having refused to attend), asked the Anglo-Saxons present whether they were willing to receive the Norman duke as their king. At this moment the church rang with shouts and acclamations; and the Norman soldiers outside, mistaking the noise for an indication that some violence was being offered to the duke, or some interruption to the ceremony, obeyed secret orders which they had received in case of such an event, and set fire to a number of houses, and surrounded the doors of the church. All were thrown into confusion; the Anglo-Saxons who were in the abbey rushed out to save their houses from destruction, the Normans followed them, and none remained except the duke and a few ecclesiastics of both nations, who concluded the ceremony, and administered to him the oath usually taken by the Anglo-Saxon kings. The duke, it is said, trembled violently.
William was forty-two years of age at the time of his coronation as king of England. His reign, which lasted twenty-one years, from 1066 to 1087, has been described as "little else than a succession of revolts, followed by chastisements so severe, that at its end few, if any, considerable estates remained in the possession of an Englishman." Let us briefly sketch the principal events of his reign, down at least to the period at which the Conquest may be considered as having been completed.
The first occupation of William after bis coronation was the confiscation of all the property of the principal Anglo-Saxons in that part of England which he had already reduced, and its division, according to promise, among his followers. After retaining to himself all the late king's treasures, with a great part of the richest plunder of the churches and shops, he bestowed the rest upon the priests, barons, knights, and soldiers, according to their rank, and the nature of the bargain they had made with him before leaving Normandy. Some received estates and castles, some the sovereignty of towns and villages, some were paid in money, and some obtained the hand of Saxon ladies, whose husbands or fathers had been killed at the battle of Hastings. The native population indiscriminately, but especially those who had taken part against the Conqueror, were mercilessly robbed of their houses, their lands, and their wealth. "The towns," says Thierry, "suffered in a different manner from the country; and each town or district had its own particular grievances. At Pevensey, for example, where the Norman army had landed, tie soldiers shared anions themselves the houses of the vanquished. In other places the inhabitants themselves were portioned out like chattels. The city of Dover, half-consumed by fire, was given to Odo, bishop of Bayeux, who in turn distributed the houses among his warriors and followers. Raoul de Courpespine received three houses, and a poor woman's field; William, son o: Geoffrey, also received three houses, along with the town-house,. or hall of the burgesses. Near Colchester, in Essex, Geoffrey de Mandeville seized forty manors or houses, surrounded by cultivated lands; fourteen Saxon proprietors were dispossessed by a Norman called Engelry; one rich Englishman placed himself for security under the protection of Gaultier, a Norman; another Englishman became a serf on the soil of his own field." So it was over all the conquered district; the sixty thousand Normans who had come over with William settling down like a band of nobles in the midst of a population of serfs. Some of the Saxons, indeed, may have been permitted to retain their rank and wealth; but these cases were the exceptions; and the meanest soldier in William's army found himself raised, both in wealth and station, above the descendants of the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon thanes. ,; The man who had crossed the sea with the quilted cassock and wooden bow of a common foot soldier, now appeared mounted on a war-horse, and bearing the military baldrick; and the herdsmen of Normandy, and the weavers of Flanders, became in England men of consequence." As yet, however, only a part of England had been conquered; and when the rest should have been subdued, the followers of William might expect still greater rewards. Allured by these hopes, crowds of new adventurers poured into England from the continent, to offer their arms and services to the Conqueror.
Before pushing the Conquest into the northern and western districts of England, William paid a visit to Normandy, carrying with him, as hostages for the peace of the kingdom "during his absence, the principal Anglo-Saxon nobility, and leaving William Fitzosborne, and Odo, bishop of Bayeux, as his lieutenant.-. He had scarcely gone when the Saxons of the conquered districts of Kent and Herefordshire revolted against their Norman oppressors; and as the Cambrians or Welsh of the extreme west of England seemed disposed to assist their ancient enemies, the Anglo-Saxons, against the new invaders of the island, the insurrection appeared very formidable. William, accordingly, hastened back from Normandy, and after spending some time in soothing and conciliating the Saxons of London and the neighbourhood, by large promises and cunning proclamations, he marched westward into the provinces which still remained unconquered. Somerset, Devon, Gloucester, and other counties of the southwest, were speedily reduced, and divided, like the eastern counties, among the fortunate soldiers of the Conqueror. By the year 1068, the whole of England south of the Ouse and Severn had been effectually subdued and garrisoned by the Normans; there remained, however, the extensive provinces north of these rivers which still preserved their independence, and afforded a retreat for all the patriots of the south whom the Conqueror had dispossessed of their lands and forced to flee. Here the Northumbrian chiefs, Edwin and Morkar, the brothers-in-law of King Harold, a young Saxon named Edrick, and many other patriots, some of whom had sworn never again to sleep under a roof until their •country should be delivered out of the strangers' hands, were constantly engaged in schemes and plots for the expulsion of the Normans. A close alliance was formed for this purpose between the Saxons and the Welsh of the west of Mercia, who generously forgot that, on the present occasion, the Anglo-Saxons were suffering precisely what, six hundred years before, they had themselves inflicted on the Celtic British. Besides the Welsh, the Anglo-Saxons found another ally in the Scotch, under their king, Malcolm Canmore, in whose dominions the young Saxon king, Edgar Atheling, with his mother and his two sisters, sought a refuge. Malcolm—a monarch of great abilities, and who, from an early period of his reign, had made it a part of his policy, for the civilisation of his own kingdom, to admit into it all strangers who chose to come—receivedthe refugees kindly, gave them lands in the Lothians, and, in token of his friendship for the Saxons, -married Edgar's younger sister Margaret, a princess of extraordinary accomplishments for that period.
Hearing of this triple alliance between the Anglo-Saxons, the Welsh, and the Scotch, William marched northwards, and, victorious wherever he advanced, took in succession the towns of Oxford, Warwick, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln, and York. After the siege of York, an incident occurred which Thierry thus narrates :—" Eldred, archbishop of Canterbury, who had lent his assistance at the consecration of the foreign king, came into the desolated city to perform some religious ceremony. When he came, he sent to his lands, not far from the city, for some provisions for his household. His servants, driving wagons laden with cor n and other articles, were met at one of the gates of York by the Norman governor with a numerous escort. 'Who are you?' demanded the Norman; 'and tb whom do these supplies belong?' 'We are,' said they, 'the archbishop's servants, and these provisions are for the use of his household.' The viscount, paying: no respect to this intimation, made a sign to his soldiers to seize the horses and wagons, and carry the provisions to the Norman magazines. When the archbishop, the friend and ally of the conquerors, found that even he did not escape the miseries of the Conquest, there arose in his soul an indignation which his calm and prudent spirit had never experienced before. He immediately repaired to the Conqueror's quarters, and presented himself in his episcopal habits,