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ENRY Duke of Normandy, a Frenchman, born to the very noble family of the Counts of Anjou, whom I have mentioned abundantly in the preceding Book, informed of Stephen’s death, immediately came into England. The people received him with happy cheers, and the whole Peerage acclaimed him as king. Then, in a parliament convened at Westminster of December 17, he was created King and consecrated by Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury. He, the thirty-seventh in his line, had succeeded William, as I have shown above in my life of Stephen. but there are some who say William belonged to the times of this Henry and that it he who consecrated him. Henry, the second king of King of England to bear that name after the time of his great-grandfather William II, having been enthroned, delivered a speech to the people full of high hope, and addressed both Commons and Peers kindly both in public and private, and as a result he gained the goodwill and loyalty of all men. After this, at the beginning of his reign, he selected men grave and learned in the law as his Privy Councilors, and with their help revised and corrected the laws. Then, in accordance with the decision of his Council, so that law and right would not be violated those men who, thanks to the license of war, had left no crime untried, banished all foreign men who in their pursuit of plunder had vied with each other in flying to England in the previous years when it had been a-boil with wars. Among these was a Flemish multitude whom he hated worse than the rest. Likewise he leveled some castles either built by private men, not against the will of Stephen (as has been said above), or erected in inconvenient places. But others he fortified, and he took back certain city and rural possessions which had once belonged to the Crown but had in any way been given to private men. This thing wounded the minds of many men, since it easily went to show that for the future nothing would be more important to Henry than his own advantage. Now the second year of Henry’s reign had begun, which was the year of human salvation 1154, when his wife Eleanor gave birth to a son whom he named Henry. In that same year the king visited Yorkshire, where he rook back some castles long held by private men, especially Scarborough, and he took back Cumberland from the King of Scots. Then he went to Northumbria and wholly recovered that providence, which had first been held by David King of Scots, a present of his mother Maud, whose side he had taken, together with the County of Cumberland, which David had long since taken from King Stephen, and was at that time a possession of his nephew and successor Malcolm. But lest seem unfair or forgetful of benefits received, he allowed him to keep the County of Huntingtonshire, which Stephen had already given to David’s son Henry, as I have said above, and in exchange for this Malcolm swore an oath of fealty to him. So from the beginning Henry was concerned to recover and retain the goods of his kingdom which had been squandered. While he was intent on enhancing his domestic affairs, he received news of a Welsh revolt. And when he suddenly moved against them, he subdued them with no trouble, cutting down all the forests and opening the narrow byways which had been their refuge. But some write that Henry was obliged to work no less hard to subdue the Welsh than other kings had often done, and at their first conflict his soldiers were so rebuffed by the rough terrain that word spread he had died, and this rumor gave hope to the Welsh and fear to the English. But in the end, when the king had readied himself to invade them by land and sea, then they were terrified and surrendered, seeking peace.
2. England was very much at peace when it was reported to the king that his brother Geoffrey was rebelling overseas. I wish to set forth the reason. Their father, dying, left three sons, Henry, Geoffrey and William, and in his testament appointed that, after Henry had gained England as well as Normandy, then he should cede the province of Anjou to Geoffrey. In the meantime he gave him three towns, Chignon, Lyon and Mirabelle, so that when the inheritance of that province would come to him he might not easily be debarred from its possession. And, fearing lest Henry (who was present) would annul this testament, he required the bishops and nobles who were present to swear an oath that they would do his fatherly bidding. Henry took the lead in doing this, albeit grudgingly, lest his body, remaining unburied, be a source of reproach to himself. But afterwards, having gained the kingdom of England, fired by a desire for possessing more (as often happens), he treated with Pope Hadrian IV, an Englishman, and employed I know not what arguments to obtain absolution from the obligation of that promise. And thus having gained the license of departing from equity, law, and right, he ignored his father’s mandate and attacked his brother. When Geoffrey was conquered in the wink of an eye, Henry accepted the surrender of the citizens of Anjou. Yet he granted some landholdings to Geoffrey lest he go needy, but he, thus mistreated, died not long thereafter. At the same time certain malicious German doctors, to the number of about thirty, who were truly worshippers of evil demons, came to England. These gentlemen, although they professed themselves Christians, nonetheless abominated baptism, the Eucharist, and marriage, but before they could spread their poison wider, they were convicted of evildoing and paid the deserved penalties.
3. Meanwhile the mutual hatred between Henry and King Louis of France, for the suppression of which a friendship had been formed between them that was entirely false, since this hatred could in no wise be so managed or moderated but that it could easily be renewed for some new reason. For when Duke William of Aquitaine, Eleanor’s paternal grandfather, had married the sole daughter and heir of the Count of Toulouse (the name of the Count, as well as that of the girl, are not recorded, as far as I am aware), and at the same time was going off on Crusade, pawned his domain to Count Raimond of Saint-Gilles. And after his death his son William, Eleanor’s father, either because of poverty or neglect of his affairs had not redeemed it, the Count of Saint-Gilles himself laid claim on this domain because of length of time it had been in his possession, and then, dying, had bequeathed to his son Raimond. And afterwards when King Louis of France married Eleanor, the daughter of Duke William of Aquitaine and immediately demanded the domain back, Raimond at first flatly refused to restore it, and then (fearing for himself, being no match in power) addressed the king with such sweet words that bestowed on him his sister Constance, the former wife of Stephen’s son Eustace, and permitted him to continue in its possession. And so Henry, after marrying Eleanor, decided to stake his own claim on the domain as her dowry, and first treated of this by means of ambassadors. But when the Count, relying on his kinship with Louis, refused to give it back, Henry declared war on him and, entering into Gascony, hastened towards the region of Toulouse. But the count, aware of the king’s coming, sent men familiar with the roads to Louis with a letter begging him to send aid. Having read the letter, Louis hastened to come to the count’s aid. Making forced marches day and night, he arrived at Toulouse and entered it. When this was announced to Henry, he immediately changed his route and turned to ravaging the countryside, and, thinking the siege of that city needed to be put off until another time, in the interim he recovered some nearby places which had previously deserted from him. Completing this business, he returned to Normandy and assembled a larger army. The French king, provoked by anger, likewise increased his forces, so much so that both, very ill-disposed towards each other, came together not much later, and were already preparing for battle when at the advice and pleading of their friends they made peace, at the same time confirming this by a new kinship. For Louis’ daughter Margarite was married to Henry’s eldest son, and in this way Count Raimond was freed from his present danger. This year, happy for this peace, was the eighth of Henry’s rain, and the year of human salvation 1162. It was also memorable for the death of Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury, a very excellent man. He was Abbot of Bec at the time he was created a prelate, and immediately went to Rome, where, receiving traditional pallium, he was appointed a legate by Pope Innocent II, and in that capacity did much to help religion. This office afterwards devolved on all the Archbishops of Canterbury, who were called “born legates.” Theobald wonderfully adored men distinguished for their learning and probity, and in particular Thomas à Becket, his successor. Since he discerned an excellent character in him, he began to keep an eye on him, and first made him Archdeacon of Canterbury, then arranged for him to be made Chancellor of the Realm (thus they call him). He was a Londoner, born of his father Gilbert and a mother who was either a Syrian or a Saracen. Theobald sat for twenty-two years, then the archbishopric lay vacant for more than a year, and afterwards Thomas à Becket followed him, being thirty-eighth in the series of archbishops.
4. In that year Eleanor gave birth to a daughter named Mathilde. Then the king convened a parliament at Westminster to deal with a number of items useful for the commonwealth, in which the rivalry and dislike that had arisen a little earlier between the king and Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury began to increase greatly. In this same year, on October 1, three rings were seen around the sun for nearly three hours, and when they vanished two sons were seen to rise. The common folk fancied the quarrel between the the king and Thomas was being announced by this prodigy, and this quarrel grew day by day and broke into the open. For when Thomas, a man of consummate integrity and prudence, saw that the king was daily choosing unsuitable priests to be bishops or promoting them to other clerical positions, exercising his right according to Norman law, as he said, and doing nothing contrary to ancestral custom and privileges, to break the power and dignity of the clergy and trying to twist right and law as he wished, he first gave Henry a friendly admonition that he should cease from his enterprise and conduct himself more fairly towards his subjects. And then, when he saw he was making little headway in this matter, he decided not to be behindhand in playing his part, assured of the reward for his labor. Therefore, oblivious of all danger to his life, he offered Henry open resistance for the sake of protecting the common cause, using many arguments to try to deter him from his attempts. But after many a debate, Henry was so far from heeding the prelate when he offered good advice, that, having brought over a number of bishops to his own side, he banished Thomas, for he saw he was not yielding or holding his own royal authority in any honor. Thomas took this insult calmly, went over to France to Pope Alexander III, who was then at Sens, and explained to him the reason for his exile, which I would be quite ashamed to repeat in this context, if it were such as many silly writers nowadays proclaim, who prefer invidious wealth, empty honors, useless power, and wanton greed for rule to true glory, and prate that Thomas suffered all those insults merely for the sake of preserving the possessions of the clergy. If he had done so, who would fail to see he was not in agreement with Christ, Who taught us to scorn things of that kind? It is they, I say, it is they who disgrace the clergy by implying its glory consists in its wealth, although it is agreed that by means of wealth all their rules for living a proper life are annulled. And so it was not for the sake of preserving clerical property that Thomas (who in the presence of Pope Alexander, as will be shown below, voluntarily resigned his office) fought. Rather, he was devoted to the preservation of the priestly dignity and authority, and the discipline of goodly morals, so that Henry, and other sovereigns who might imitate him, would not introduce the worst of men into priestly colleges, not impose laws on them at their whim, not use other men’s money as if it were their own, but, content with their governments, would allow bishops to be duly appointed and, having been appointed, to obtain their sees and perform their duty. This is what this goodly prelate did, this is why he fought, this was why he submitted his life to extreme peril. I return to my subject. Henry sent ambassadors to France to the same Pope to plead his cause. But when they had achieved nothing, then he became inflamed with anger and confiscated all the goods of the archbishop and his domestics. But Thomas, kindly received by Alexander, since he judged that the archbishopric had been given to him by men rather than by God, and for this reason that he had justly been visited with misfortunes, is said to have voluntarily resigned his archiepiscopal dignity in Alexander’s presence, although the Pope quickly restored him and commanded him to go the monastery of Pontigny, there to remain until matters between himself and Henry were resolved. This is a Cistercian monastery in the diocese of Auxerre. Thomas happily obeyed the Pope and, receiving his new habit from Alexander himself, went to the monastery and started to leave a monastic life.
5. While Henry was caught up in this controversy it was reported that the Welsh were up in arms once more, and that they were making inroads against all their neighbors and driving off plunder, wasting everything with steel and fire. Irate and forgetting all his difficulties, he went against his enemies with forced marches, and surrounded them in their mountains, where they had escaped at this first arrival. This required small effort. For then the Welshmen perceived they were cut off by their enemy’s army, it was their turn to feel terror. And when there was no means of escape they promptly cast down their arms and returned to their allegiance. No great slaughter was made, but the leaders of this enterprise were so heavily fined that it was thought that henceforth they would be happy to abide in their loyalty. Now it was the tenth year of Henry’s reign, and by Eleanor he had fathered Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, John, Mathilde and Joan. At this time died Malcolm King of Scots, a man distinguished by military glory and by the ornament of all the mental virtues. He was succeeded by his brother William, and as soon as he had been crowned he betook himself to London and swore his fealty to Henry, as Malcolm had done. Afterwards he began to ask Henry for the return of Northumbria, which his mother had given to King David. Henry offered many excuses why he was not able to do this. The King of Scots, understanding the king’s intention, went home, intending someday to regain his property by arms. In these same days Duke Conan of Britanny departed this life without male issue, leaving only a daughter named Constance. Although she was not yet nubile, Henry arranged for her betrothal to his son Geoffrey. When this matter he had in hand turned out successfully, Henry was overjoyed that his son had acquired the government of all Britanny. After this, the Augusta Maud, the Queen Mother, died, a woman distinguished above her sex for martial affairs and strength of mind. In the same year the king betrothed his daughter Margaret to Duke Henry of Saxony, and she gave birth to three sons, Henry, Otto (elected Emperor, he received the imperial insignia from Innocent III), and William. Likewise died Robert Bishop of Lincoln, in whose place nobody was substituted, and the see of Lincoln lay vacant for the next seventeen years, with the king meanwhile receiving its income by the worst example in the history of mankind. For the next two years there was a rest from external wars, and lest he fritter away his time joining his soldiers in banquets and luxury, he went over to Britanny with his son Geoffrey, and by surveying that region he laid, in a way, a new foundation for its affairs, spending most of his time in fortifying its castles, fortresses and cities, and in greeting all its nobles affably. Then, returning to Normandy, he settled his domestic affairs there. When these things had been arranged to his satisfaction, at the beginning of spring he returned to England, being troubled by a bad storm on his journey and with the loss of one ship which capsized and sank, in which there were three hundred men who perished to a man. And returning that year, which was the year of human salvation 1169, he passed his Christmas at Windsor Castle, where he was joined by all the Peers of the realm. Likewise William King of Scots with his brother David came there to congratulate Henry about his happy accomplishments in France. He received them with kindness and gave them various gifts.
6. At this time, while other men were gathering to witness the games, which the Engish always celebrate with magnificent pomp at this season, since they think it is lawful then to devote themselves to honest pleasures (in contrast to the custom of other nations, which are at their most playful a little before the beginning of Lent), King Henry himself, eager to perpetuate his government among his sons began to entertain a plan that that caused him anxiety and great harm, as the sequel later showed. Thinking to himself that life is not so precarious for any other living thing as for Man, and that men have an innate desire for domination, so that as often as they set their minds on gaining power they become reckless and violate and pervert all right and justice acquisition’s sake, he thought he would not be doing any harm if he were to fear what might come to pass, namely if by some happenstance he were to give up the ghost when his sons were not yet of fighting age, they might be cheated out of the kingdom. Therefore, to counter fortune’s mischances, he thought that in his own lifetime he should share the throne with his eldest son Henry, then seventeen years of age. Thus he could deliver the throne to the young man with his own hands. And so he came to London as soon as he could, and in a parliament of bishops and nobles he pronounced Henry his partner in the kingship. Then, on June 14 he was crowned by Roger Archbishop of York. This office traditionally belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but since Thomas was still in exile, the king assigned the responsibility to Roger, a request with which he should not have complied without the express permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas of Canterbury’s complaint to Pope Alexander so moved him that in a letter he forbade Roger Archbishop of York, Gilbert Bishop of London, and Joscelin Bishop of Salisbury to administer the sacraments, for they not only attended this ceremony but also presided over it. Which thing aroused Henry’s wrath against Thomas more than can be expressed. On the very same day his son received the royal insignia, he gave a banquet, in which for honor’s sake he himself, boyishly rejoicing, served his son while he was at table. Because of this gesture the young man became somewhat more arrogant, staring at the bystanders more insolently than washis custom. And the Archbishop of York, who was sitting nearby, turned to him and said jokingly, “Rejoice, my excellent son, there is no prince in the whole world who has such an attendant.” And he, irritated, replied, “Why are you surprised? My father should not think this beneath his dignity, since he is high-born only on his mother’s side, whereas I am born of a king and a queen.” Thus the younger Henry, being endowed with a bad, depraved character, improvised this insult against his father. But the elder Henry, hearing these words, was overcome with great pain, and said to the archbishop in lowered tones, “I regret it, I tell you. I regret having promoted this man.” From this inciden he already foresaw that his son was destined to become his adversary. But still, even if it troubled him that he had acted amiss, since he saw he could not undo what was done, he ensured that all the Peers of the realm, and also the King of Scots, swore the traditional oath of fealty towards the boy, but refused to free them from their former oath. I have some authorities who write that Henry did not share rule with his son, but had previously abdicated his royal dignity and then arranged for the boy’s coronation, but in an uncertain matter that version is more probable which mopst agrees with the chronology of events. For Henry the father, as long as his son lived, conducted himself now as a partner, and now as a king. And after the son’s death he continued in his government, which he could not have done by any right if he had previously resigned that power. But let me return to the point from where I digressed. King Louis of France, when he learned that his son-in-law had been crowned, but that his daughter, Henry’s wife, had not, was vehemently irate and wrote an acid letter to Henry the father, threatening to declare war if Margaret were not endowed with the regal insignia at the earliest possible moment. Learning of this thing, Henry hastily sailed over to Normandy. Here, while both sides were preparing for war, thanks to the singular effort of Count Theobald of Blois, the kings conferred at Verneuil. There, after a lengthy speech, Henry, already harboring suspicions about young Henry’s character, and who wanted nothing less than to be faced with the necessity of fighting Louis, promised that he would guarantee that his son Henry would soon have a second coronation, together with his wife. Louis was content with this promise and retired from the conference. But Henry returned to Verneuil, where a few days later he fell into a serious sickness which so quickly weakened him that a sudden rumor filled all France that he had died, and he himself, thinking his health was ruined, wrote a testament in which he left Aquitaine to his son Richard, designating this place for his burial. Meanwhile in England his wanton son Henry had fallen from an upright and honorable style of life into pleasure-seeking, and was squandering his father’s goods. When his father (who had by now recuperated) heard this, he hastened back to England. But after a few days he returned to Normandy, together with his son.
7. By now Thomas of Canterbury had been in exile for almost six years, being visited during that time with so many and such great troubles, as Henry’s anger daily grew greater, that all men pitied him, and particularly King Louis, who, together with Count Theobald of Blois, a most upright man, did not hesitate day and night both to urge Henry to a reconciliation, by means of letters and ambassadors, and also to ask the Pope to use his authority to compel the king to this, as was right and just. And on his own the Pope industriously devoted himself to this same thing. Partly by writing back and forth, and partly by writing letters and sending ambassadors threatening excommunication, he brought Henry to the point that now he did not ignore these placatory admonitions. And so, soon thereafter, for the sake of hastening this thing King Louis and Walter Bishop of Rouen, together with Thomas and other bishops, met at a place along the Norman border convenient for both parties, where Henry also came. There, after lengthy debates, the king, seeing there was no more room for procrastination, finally received this most holy prelate Thomas back into his good graces, pledges of faith having been given by moth sides, and promised that he would quickly make restitution with a generous hand for the injuries Thomas had suffered, and that no man who had taken his part would be punished. Therefore, having been reconciled in this manner, the king and the prelate met in conference. And there Thomas, so that there would be no cause in the future why the memory of past things should be revived, asked that the king grant him permission to punish those bishops who had acted contrary to canon law. This the king did not refuse, a thing which later became grounds for renewed hatred. After these and other things had been said, they departed from the conference. Not much later Canterbury, when he had now twice visited the king within a few days, and at his first coming the king had been careful not to be obliged to receive the excellent prelate’s kiss of peace during Mass, which would have been a token of a feigned reconciliation, even if afterwards he had greeted him warmly and with wonderful friendship had seen him off on his return to England. Meanwhile Thomas, although he was urged by his followers to hurry his journey, went first to greet King Louis, who had done well by him, and when he had thanked him for his favors, he asked for leave to depart. The king, inspired by the Holy Spirit, as it is reasonable to believe, first tried to discourage him from returning to his enemies. For he had perceived that Henry was so wounded of mind in that pact of concord. Bit in the end, when Thomas he said he was recalled to undertake his responsibility out of necessity, although it grieved him to see Thomas, whom he held in high esteem and who was regarded as a great man by all the French nobility, to leave France after seven years in exile, the king honorably sent him away. Then Thomas, going out of France in the seventh year after having been driven into exile, returned safely to his native land, not unaware of the coming martyrdom he suffered a little later, and therefore arrived happily, received with the greatest joy and gladness of mind by all good men, but immediately loaded with curses and reproaches by the bad and the depraved. The chief one of the later was Roger Archbishop of York, indeed a wicked man. He, who had justly been debarred from handling the sacraments, together with Gilbert Bishop of London, Joscelline Bishop of Salisbury, and a countless number of priests went to Thomas in his capacity as Papal legate, and asked and inisted that he permit them to perform their offices. Thomas is said not to have refused them pardon and absolution, but also bid them vow to present themselves for his own just judgment, and, at the instigation of the Archbishop of York, the rest refused to do this. The historians do not agree among themselves. Some say that as soon as Thomas came to England, he denounced as impious the Archbishop of York himself, together with the Bishops of London and Salisbury, deprived of the use of the sacraments. Others write that he only forbade them the public administration of the sacraments. This being the situation, Roger (being a criminal man), together with the confederates in his madness, went flying straight over to Normandy, and, hot for revenge, approached the king, denounced Thomas to him, and reproached, blamed and accused him for attempting to overturn, corrupt, and abolish the freedom of the clergy, law both human and divine, and the customs of their forefathers; for assuming such authority to himself and wishing to ban bishops from the society of Christians at his own good pleasure, and to destroy them forever when they had been banded; and like wise to derogate from royal prerogative and destroy the rights of all his subjects. Furthermore, if they perceived any courtiers to be ill-disposed towards Thomas, they ardently kindled them, prodding them to eocompass his ruin. But, not to say more, things of this kind so moved Henry that, vehemently aroused, he once exclaimed, “Woe is me, I can’t have peace with one priest in my own kingdom. Do I have no subject who will agree to rid me of this trouble?” On the basis of wishes of this kind, there were some rascals who imagind the king’s secret desire was to see Thomas killed. He, because was deemed to be a kind of enemy to the king, began to be neglected, scorned, and regarded as an object of loathing by the common people, so that once, when he came to Strode, a village by the river Medway (the river that waters Rochester), the inhabitants of the place, desiring to offer some insult to the good fater, did not hesitate to cut off the tail of the horse he was riding, bringing down perpetual shame on themselves. For afterwards, in accordance with God’s will, it came to pass that all the men of the family which had committed that crime were born with tails like brute beasts. But that mark of infamy, together with the family of those tailed geneleman, has long since faded from memory. But some henchmen plotted to avenge the king’s dignity in quite another way, particularly Hugh Moreville, William Tracy, Richard Britt, and Reginald Urse, whom their scurvy morals had already brought together. These planned on killing Thomas and, fancying that, if they would commit the deed as soon as possible, they would gratify the king, they came straightway to England. Traveling to Canterbury they murdered Thomas and plundered his fortunes, doing everything with impunity because they were royal henchmen. Afterwards, tainted by this wicked murder and laden down with their impious spoils, they ran away to the territory of Durham, planning on waiting until them discovered how the king would choose to thank them, whom they proclaimed they had defended with their great loyalty. But it turned out differently than they had thought. For Henry did not regard such a wicked piece of evildoing as a favor, so that these misguided murderers, despairing of pardon, fled way in different directions, and they all died an ill death within three years. Thus Archbishop Thomas won the palm of martyrdom after occupying his see for eight years and six months, which was they year of human salvation 1170.
8. This grievous trouble visited great sorrow on King Henry and all other men, since, like sheep of the Lord’s flock, they justly grieved to have lost their shepherd. And the king in particular was supremely tormented, because he could foresee many men would readily imagine he was complicit in this great crime, just as did happen. For immediately upon hearing of Thomas’ death King Louis, Count Theobald of Blois, and the rest of his friends were stricken with sorrow, and took it for granted that this crime was committed at Henry’s behest. And by letters and ambassadors they informed Pope Alexander about his murder, blaming Henry and asking that he quickly decide to avenge this insult to religion. Alexander immoderately lamented this sad calamity, and, taking into account his own dignity and the atrocity of the crime, he decided to hold an inquest. While these things were transpiring, Henry spent several days in mourning this most bitter thing at Argenton, granting nobody an audience for any reason because of his great sorrow. When he perceived he was being blamed the the murder, he sent ambassadors to Rome partly to deny his guilt, partly to obtain pardon from the Pope because, in his rash anger, he so railed against Thomas that he inspired his followers to murder, and partly to request the Pope to send legates to England to investigate the death of Archbishop Thomas and the condition of the clergy. After this, Henry made up his mind to subdue Ireland, both because it was England’s neighbor and because he understood it had often supplied the French with help. He therefore regarded it as greatly in his interest to subdue that island, almost never before troubled by foreign arms. Therefore, summoning soldiers from all over, and also gathering his ships so that on a certain day he would have his fleet outfitted, he prepared for a great war. His ambassadors arrived at Rome, and then went to Tuscany, where the Pope was at that time, because it was wrongly said he had not been unaware of the plan to murder Thomas. But the Pope was so far from believing their words that he perceived nearly everything to be contrary to what they said. Wherefore, just as the ambassadors themselves requested, he sent two Cardinals to England who would investigate the matter in person. Arriving at Normandy, they received a warm welcome and lavish hospitality from Henry. Since it was insufficiently evident to them in whom the blame for the murder resided, after a long debate the slander of Henry’s guilt was thus dispelled. The king cleared himself upon his oath, and very sorrowfully confessed that he had only sinned in that he had once entertained some hatred for the archbishop, from which the motive for that wicked murder could have the appearance of arising. And the legates imposed on him the penalty of sending two hundred soldiers to Jerusalem for the protection of Christendom, of himself appearing in Syria within three years, to join with the other Christian sovereigns in leading an army, making war on their common enemy (which things his son Richard later performed), and of henceforth striving to deserve well of the clergy. And all these things he swore on his oath to do. Some historians write that he allowed it to become established law that he and his son Henry would thus possess the kingdom of England on the terms that after their death no man should be understood to possess the title of king unless he had been designated by the Pope. English annals have no record of this thing, nor did subsequent kings observe it. Since he had died for religion’s sake, Thomas’ memory began to become more famous because of frequent miracles, because of which the people came running to his tomb in crowds to venerate it. And the legates, having performed the mandates which had brought them to Henry, and had at his request absolved all bishops who humbly sued for pardon, bishops who, as told above, had either been adjudged enemies of the Christian religion or had been deprived of their use of the sacraments, returned to the Pope and announced the results of their embassy. At the same time they informed of him the many and great miracles which were said to have occurred around Thomas’ tomb after his death. And St. Thomas was magnified among men not only because of the sanctity of his martyrdom, but also for the sake of his wealth. For posterity later constructed a mausoleum for him which nowadays is England’s principle sight, where a heap of all manner of gifts daily grows, as if a goodly part of the common people believe God is adored with gold, silver and precious stones more than with prayers. The year when these things occurred was 1173 A. D.
9. It will be useful for me to go back a little, so the order of events which I have observed so far may be properly observed. For, lest I mix together profane and divine things, I have deliberately delayed my account of the Irish war, which was waged prior to Thomas’ canonization, which may therefore be conveniently described here. Henry, having prepared a very strong army together with no mean fleet, which they say consisted of four hundred ships, sailed swiftly over to Ireland about the beginning of winter, and, having landed, proceeded a little and encamped not far from Waterford and, planning his campaign strategy there, ordered his men to be ready lest they be attacked by the enemy unawares. While he was occupied by these things, the inhabitants learned of his arrival, and ambassadors of many of the island’s cities and petty kings came promising to give hostages and to do his bidding. And others, equally doubting their own strength, imitated them. And so, since each group was afraid, nearly all of them voluntarily surrendered. Henry gained this unexpected bloodless victory, since the island obeyed a number of petty kings and was drawn apart into different factions and movements, nothing else hindered this unconquered nation so that it could not offer resistance but the lack of a common plan for warding off danger from the commonwealth. And so, since they individually feared to fight against so great a king, they were universally defeated. Henry gladly accept the islanders’ surrender and demanded their oath of fealty. But King Rory of Connacht was the only one who refused to submit to Henry. This fierce-minded man styled himself the King of Ireland, and had been constantly warring against the other petty kings as he sought to gain power over the whole island. And assuredly his sedition brought it about that others, as I have said, submitted to the King of England. This petty king possessed the forested part of the island island, to the west, and this was closed on all sides, particularly in winter, because it was protected by lofty mountains, forests, and waters. And this was the most important reason why Henry did not immediately war on the King of Connacht. For he was thoroughly convinced that in wintertime (which it then was) no war could be waged. Therefore, omitting it for the present, he thought he should devote himself fully to securing the island with his garrisons and making arrangements to organize it. So he went to Dublin, which is the island’s principal city, where he convened its petty kings and bishops, and dealt with perpetuating the government of the island for himself and his successors. The Irish denied this was possible without the Pope’s authorization, because from the beginning, after their conversion to Christianity, they had submitted themselves and all they owned to his rule, and they steadfastly maintained they had no other master besides the Pope himself (this is their boast even nowadays). Having given them a hearing, the king sent ambassadors to Alexander requesting that by his authority Ireland, freshly conquered, might be added to the kingdom of England, and the Pope ungrudgingly granted this. For, since he derived no profit from, and the rustic Wild Irishmen did not yet properly observe marriage (for each individual had as many wives as his wealth would allow) and many other points of our religion, the Pope thought that they would be rendered more civilized and knowledgeable of divine things if they obeyed a single powerful Christian prince. Therefore Henry, understanding these were the principal reasons why the Pope had given him Ireland, after pacifying the island he arranged that in a plenary synod of bishops, which was held in the noble city of Cassile, all things were improved which had heretofore not duly been in accordance with Christian teaching. Having completed these things happily, at the beginning of spring the king speedily returned to England, and then went over to Normandy, where he met the papal legates whom he had by now learned were coming to him, and his dealings with them are abundantly described above.
10. Since we have come to this point, it does not seem amiss to describe the topography of Ireland and the manners of its inhabitants. Ireland is an island in the British sea set between Britain and Spain. To the east it has Britain itself, a day’s sailing away, to the south France, and to the west Spain, which is said to be distant by three days’s sailing. To the north it has boundless ocean, but it is not far removed from Scotland. It is oblong and egg-shaped, and stretches from south to north, just like Britain. They say that it is called Hibernia after a Spanish leader named Hiberus who first settled it with a multitude of men; or, as others would have it, it took its name from the famous Spanish river Iber, since natives of Spain were the first to dwell in the island; or from its winter weather, since it faces the sea. But it is more likely that it is named either after that leader Hiberus or after the Iber, since the Irish do not greatly differ from their Spanish neighbors in physique, way of life, and manners. As has been set forthin Book III, the Scots, originating in either Scythia or Egypt, as people say, ejected the previous inhabitants and possessed it for some time, calling it Scotland after themselves. But a long time afterwards, when they had become allied with the Picts and occupied the ultimate part of Britain, which is to the north, Hibernia itself gradually regained its former name, and that part of Britain occupied by the Scots became Scotland. The size of Ireland is reckoned to be half that of Britain, since it is no longer than 300 miles in length and 90 in breadth. But its soil and climate does greatly differ, except that Ireland is more mountainous and abundant in water, having ponds and marches even on its highest mountains. The temperate weather is wonderful,and the fertility of the land is remarkable, even if the Irish are not devoted to agriculture. It produces no animal that can serve as quarry for the hunt, nor does it support these if imported from abroad. It has the harmful wolf and the fox, but its other living life is tame and smaller than elsewhere. Bees too are found everywhere, which some wrongly deny. The Irish sea produces pearls, but dark or yellow ones. And all Ireland is divided into four parts, of which one, facing southwards, is called Munster; there are also Ulster, to the north, Leicster to the east, and Connacht to the west. And these, both the more civilized parts and the wild, are sparsely populated. Those states are more cultured which obey the King of England, for thereby they acquire more honest manners. The river Shour divides Munster from Leinster, which debouches at Waterford, making a harbor, where the crossing to England is shortest. And the Shannon divides it from Connacht, the principal city of which is Limerick on the west shore, watered by the Shannon, the greatest river of all Ireland. Its more populous cities are Waterford, and, along the river Suir, Carick, Clonmel, Chair, and Cassile, and Cork, in an inlet of water. Across from it on the north shore is Cork, starting at which place the land grows narrower and more wooded as you go southward. Second comes Ulster, which is opposite it and faces northward, which is separated from Leinster by the river Boyne, which waters the maritime town of Drogheda and the city of Meath, whose market down is Armach, and on the north cost is Strangford, where the crossing to Scotland is shortest, which has an island nearby that place, and other small towns and a number of islands stretching along that north coast over to the island’s other corner, toward the est. Likewise in its interior there is a large lake which they call Lough Foyle, the source of the Shannon, which in its lengthy course divides the Irish in the west from those in the east, and at Limerick makes a harbor capable of containing a large number of ships. Now let us posit Leinster to be the third part. This begins at Drogheda, a town on the eastern shore, and stretches to Rosslare, another town on that same shore, about 190 miles in length. It contains the cities of Dublin (the capital of all the island), Meach, Forne, and walled cities, Kildare, Kilkenny, Tosdon, Bennetbridge, and the Wild Irish possess a goodly portion of this too. The final part is Connacht, which faces the west, and it is much less civilized than the eastern portion, as I said. The Shannon separates it from Munster. It extends a little beyond Sligo, a town on the north cast, and its principal city is Galway, and it too has busy harbors, small islands and lakes.
11. This island, full of plentiful mountains and marches, and almost wholly wooded, is possessed and ruled by numerous petty kings, presided over by a single man who calls himself King of Connacht. Its inhabitants belong to the hardiest race of men by far, and they do not eat much grain, but for the most part live on milk and meat. When they do eat bread, they make it out of oaten flour. Those Irish are called Wild who live nearly in the manner of beasts, although amidst their savagery they precisely observe the Christian religion. They are not uncomely in stature. They wear a linen tunic, and do not change it until it becomes threadbare and, lest it show dirt, they dye it yellow. When they venture out in public, or for the sake of keeping warm, over this they wear a woolen cloak (and a shaggy one at that, with fringes at the top), and this is the common dress of men and women alike. But their nobles dress in clothes reaching down to the ankles, a hooded cape that extends to the heel. They also wear shoes, whereas the rest of the people go about hatless and barefoot. The skin of their feet is so calloused that even boys whose feet are not yet hardened by long practice and labor run about with surprising speed, even in rough places. They crop their hair a little above the ears, although some of them maintain the ancient manner by cutting of their hair in back but wearing long locks in front. They often shave off their beards, leaving only their upper lips unshaven (as is reasonable to believe) as a terror for their enemies. This nation is constantly agitated by seditions, and for this reason is canny at managing battles and other tasks, and ready at every moment to receive orders. They fight without any armor on their bodies, they rely on courage and strength as a substitute and regard armor as a burden, although now that they have gradually been schooled by their danger they are beginning to adopt it. They ride without saddles, using very small blankets with no decorative bosses. And they carefully raise their horses, feeding them grass in the open air. Their weapons are the javelin, the sword, the axe, and the stones with which they defend themselves when they have lost their other arms. These are the ways they do not differ among themselves. They all use the same language, which they pronounce like men babbling and groaning, they are quick of wit, fierce, and prone to revenge. They are not trustworthy but rejoice in lying, and are well-lettered, since from boyhood they study grammar and law both canon and civil. Furthermore, they are sober, and very tolerant of hunger. They receive guests affably and with much kindness. They delight in not working. They do not greatly cultivate agriculture, nor any of the other arts save music, at which they are very skillful. They both sing and play their fiddles elegantly, but with great gusto, so they can properly observe the numbers of art amidst such speed of voice, tongue and fingers, and in this they are masterful down to their fingertips. Their houses are built of stone or wood, and they make their walls of mud. They mourn their dead for a long time, with great outcries. If the deceased are great men, their hire women to lament at the funeral. Considering I have said enough about this island, I have thought it superfluous to recount the miracles that are commonly said to have occurred in Ireland, since these have a habit of disappearing into the remote distance the more carefully you inquire into them. But let me now return to the point of my digression.
12. In Normandy, when Henry had finished dealing with Pope Alexander’s legates, he was free for domestic affairs. So that he might at length put an end to King Louis’ quarrelling and hatred of himself, he sent his son Henry, together with his wife, back to England for a second coronation. So he and his wife Margaret werecrowned a little later at a parliament of bishops and nobles convened at Winchester. This was done by Walter Bishop of Rouen. Meanwhile the elder King Henry could easily have foreseen and averted the discord that soon erupted between himself and his sons, had his mind not been perverse. From this there came about a war both great and criminal, which could barely be ended within two years. For they say he received a divine warning that if he did not uphold justice (which contains within itself all the virtues) more scrupulously for all men in general, it was foredoomed that within a short while he would encounter great calamities and, consumed by these, have an unhappy ending to his life. King Henry the younger, again assuming the insignia of royalty, returned to his father in Normandy, and then, for the sake of paying his duty, went with his wife to Louis his father-in-law. And this journey was the principal seedbed of sedition. Louis received them lovingly, and arranged for various games with which they might delight themselves. In the course of these games Louis, as some writers record, forgetting their recent friendship but remembering their ancient hatred, managed to discern that young Henry was putting on great airs and was striving to achieve power, and thought he should create some trouble for King Henry so he would be rendered impotent and harmless. Therefore, since the young man could not be swayed, and thinking only of his self-interest, Louis did nothing to discourage him from repudiating his arrangement with his father and assuming sole rule. What about the fact that he also gave an indication that his own counsel and aid would not be lacking? But the even more was the boy urged on by his attendant crowd of flatters, ready to sway his impressionable youth towards depravity. They constantly chattered away, exclaiming that he was born to rule and not to obey another, and therefore that it was not fit for him to enjoy this precarious power, but that it should be freely his. Provoked by these urgings, Henry grew alienated from his father, and yet he quickly returned to him. For his father had already recalled him, fearing that which was true, and hence thinking it was not in his own best interest for his son to be absent for long. For he knew the boy was easily corrupted, since wisdom does not belong to that age in life. In the same year, which was the year of human salvation 1174, Richard was created the thirty-ninth Archbishop of Canterbury. Roger Abbot of Bec had been elected before him, but refused that dignity, and ambitious men attributed this to sloth rather than wisdom. It is that difficult to please the common people, who measure all honorable things only by advantage. At the same time Count Raimond of Saint-Gilles accepted Henry as his overlord, fearing his power, and thus he took timely consultation for his affairs. And Count Hubert of Mortaigne betrothed his sole daughter to the king’s son John. As far as I can tell, the girl’s name is unrecorded by any author, even though it should not have been ignored, since by means of this marriage, John came into his domain as a dowry after Hubert’s death, and Hubert had no little standing in Normandy. But this was reason for the younger King Henry for spewing all the quicker on his father the venom he had imbibed from his father-in-law Louis. For when his father wanted to assign certain Norman towns to his son John, in which resided his wife’s dowry, as he promised the Count of Mortaigne he would do if he would give his daughter in marriage, his son Henry forbade this, giving it out that he was the king and that this all belonged to himself.
13. In the midst of these things, those who had been suborned by Louis, or who were moved by the hatred they had conceived against King Henry the father, did not cease dinning in the ears of this young men, which were now open to those giving bad advice, that it was not in keeping with his dignity that he be reckoned as the son of the family any longer, so it was time for him to govern in his own right, his father deposed. And so the young Henry, trusting on these friends and supporters, openly demanded the kingdom of England, together with Normandy. This deeply wounded the mind of his father King Henry, and yet, not being unaware that this great rashness had its origin not so much in his son as in backbiters offering bad counsel, he mildly reprehended him, hoping he could moderate the boy’s youthful frenzy, and bid him suffer the delay with equanimity, which in due time would turn out for the good. But the youth, not ceasing his forwardness, was unswayed by his father’s advice, since he had decided to snatch the helm of government from his paternal hands by any means necessary. And so he secretly fled to his father-in-law and, explaining everything, begged for his help in recovering the throne. The king told him to be of good cheer, and when the boy had been made his beneficiary he proclaimed him Duke of Normandy. A beneficiary is the common term for the possessor of a domain or other landholding which belongs to another. Likewise, according to Caesar, it is used for a man who is enlisted for military service and receives his salary from a general or who is at leisure for a salary, as Festus puts it. But let me return to my course. The father, learning of his son’s flight, sent some horsemen to restrain him, but since he had covered most of his route already, they were unable to overtake him. Therefore without delay, that this disease could be healed in its early stage, he sent ambassadors to Louis asking that he chide this hotheaded young man, alienated from piety towards his father by the counsel of evil men, and lovingly exhort him to come back at the earliest possible time. And, lest he be suspected of giving him similar provocation to do such a thing in the future, Louis should promise on Henry’s behalf that, if he had done anything wrong in the past, he would promptly amend himself according to his son’s dictates. But Louis, when he heard Henry being called king by the ambassadors, became troubled in spirit, as was clear from his eyes and expression. “What’s this?“ he asked, “By what audacity does Henry style himself king while his son, who is the king, is alive? Has he not already abdicated his royal majesty? What he dares is contrary to law and reason.” Saying these words, he sent the ambassadors home. They hot-footed it back quickly, and, telling all that had transpired, affirmed that everything was heading towards violence. Hearing this, Henry began to fear everything both home and abroad, for evil was heaped on evil, since his wife Eleanor (a woman memorable for her peevishness) acted boldly so there would be strife between the sons and the father, such afterwards broke out. Therefore the king, very anxious, strove with might and main to gather an army, more carefully sound out men’s loyalty, and garrison especially those places nearest the French. Meanwhile the many men of his own ilk whom young King Henry kept about himself did not cease exhorting, urging and impelling him to wage war against this father, so that this man, whom no reasoning had moved to hand over the kingdom, might be removed from it by force of arms. And for the accomplishment of this the King of France promised to give him arms. Inspired by these promptings, the arrogant young man, now having no doubts about what he should do, fell on Aquitaine with a great number of armed men. His father Henry did not immediately oppose his youthful fury, but, thinking he should energetically avoid this most unseemly war more than death itself, attempted to soften his savage mind by indulgence and dutifulness. Therefore when it came to pass that some grave men, who feared for themselves lest they offend him by doing otherwise, had decided to abandon his son and had secretly sent him a token by which he could seal his letters to them, he was so far from receiving them that he sent them back to his son straightway, commanding them to serve their prince with diligence. And at the same time he sent him messengers to treat of peace on his behalf. But meanwhile, the more the father strove to soothe the son’s anger, the more his mother aroused him. For is said that Eleanor, irate with fury because of Henry’s mistresses, spoke such harsh things about her husband in the presence of her sons Richard and Geoffrey that she drove them to ally themselves with their royal brother and go to Aquitaine to help him against his father. And King Henry, rejoicing to have has brothers as allies, and because of this made far more arrogant, answered the messengers sent by his father by saying he would disband his army if the government were handed over to him in its entirety, and permit those of his soldiers whom he had compelled by oath to follow himself to fight bravely against him as their enemy, if they so wished. But he allowed those to whose heart the other side was dear to remain with his father with impunity. But Henry his father, when he heard this very stubborn answer from the messengers, was very grieved, because now he saw everything was finally coming to the point it would have to be committed to a sinful fight. And lest he be caught off his guard, he kept his forces under arms. Meanwhile the nobles who were followers of the son, informed by spies of their father’s counsels, who, as I said, was ready to fight, should it be necessary, but also, if they wished, freely and happily to take his sons back into his good graces, were very troubled in what way they could maintain the sons in this state of hostility towards the father until they could depose him. Therefore they did not cease urging the young men to arms, day and night. But above all others King Louis was eager that this war would end with a battle, for which he had already promised his assistance, and for this reason he immediately invited King Henry the son to come to him at Paris.
14. Here, with the nobles of the realm whom Louis had summoned, with King William of Scotland, with Earl Hugh of Chester, who had succeeded his father, mentioned in my life of Stephan, with Roger Mowbray, Hugh Bigot, and a number of other members of this conspiracy who followed King Henry the son, the kings conferred and consulted about the war and deliberated about where it should be started. After these deliberations were complete, lest Henry should have any grounds for suspecting his allies’ faith, first Louis, and then all of them promised upon their oath to help him with their money and arms until the time that he gained his kingdom. Emboldened by these promises, to gain his soldiers’ loyalty he bestowed lands and towns on them, and confirmed these gifts in writing. Meanwhile his father Henry, learning about this conspiracy, waited in Normandy, affected by great grief that he suffered no more from his external enemies than from his domestic ones. But, since he saw that the season was unsuitable for waging war (for winter had now crept upon them, and he hoped that before springtime the minds of his sons could be recalled to sanity by peace embassies and promises) did not make all his preparations with the energy which such a great war required. But not much later the French, who were most eager to come to grips with their enemy, joined arms with young King Henry when the springtime was barely upon them , and on one and the same day invaded Normandy, Aquitaine, and Britanny (which their father Henry possessed against the will of Duke Geoffrey, his son). They wasted everything, and in particular they besieged castles and the stronger fortified towns. And at the same time, too, so that their enemy might be harried on all sides at once, William King of Scots made new commotions in England. For at the recent council at Paris he had been given Northumbria by Henry, and he hastened there and strove with all his might to gain control over it. But the more the tried to so, the more the inhabitants, who greatly loathed his government and hardly wished to endure it, offered resistance, and shot missiles at their enemy everywhere. And so the Scots were obliged to turn tail, not without slaughter. But while others plundered in Normandy, Louis came to besiege the town of Verneuil, but because this was high and defended, it could not be taken by ladders or machines of war, nor was their any hope for a brief siege. For he learned from captives that grain sufficient for many days had already been brought in. So he pitched camp before the town and then surrounded it with a wall in order to reduce the townsmen to a surrender. And not long thereafter this occurred in accordance with his wishes. Meanwhile Henry the father, hearing the citizens of Verneuil were remaining loyal to himself and were sufficiently safe, pursued the remaining portion of the enemy army in the countryside, fighting confused skirmishes. But while he fought everywhere with the enemy in this manner, the citizens of Verneuil, discovering their food supply was running out more quickly than they had anticipated, were compelled to ask Louis for a three-day truce on these conditions, that within three days they would surrender, if he would forgive them, unless they were sent help by Henry. Louis agrees to the conditions, and after he took hostages and promised his forgiveness, the truce was agreed. And the townsmen, sending messengers begging help, they informed Henry that their condition was reduced to extremes. King Henry, greatly troubled by this news, since he had not feared anything of the sort would occur, making no delay since the situation required speed, came to aid his subjects and encamped not far from the enemy camp. The French king, fearing that, if he were required to fight, he would lose the opportunity of storming the town for the present, cheated his enemy by a trick. For he sent ambassadors to Henry to say that he was dealing with his sons to achieve a reconciliation, and desired a conference with him about this matter. And if Henry did not shrink from this, then the messengers should ask that he appoint the the following day for the meeting, which was the day on which the truce granted the townsmen would expire. The king heard this gladly and, trusting these treacherous words, promised he would be at Louis’ disposal. Therefore on the following day he came to the place appointed, and Louis, as if planning to keep his promise, kept sending messengers falsely, saying he was about to come, and so consumed nearly the entire day. He meanwhile encircled Verneuil with his soldiers and ordered his officers to tell the townsmen that Henry was defeated so that they would abandon their hope of receiving help and stand by their agreement. The townsmen, thinking this to be true since they understood that the king had come with a large army and the promised help had not arrived on that day, despaired of their hope and surrendered themselves to the army. And he, having no confidence that he could hold on to the place, contrary to his promise sacked and burned the city and imprisoned the captive nobles. And then, fearing an enemy attack, he went away during the night. Henry, perceiving the trick, quickly dispatched a number of squadrons of horse to pursue the enemy. But when Louis had gained safety within his own territory, he whom they had sought with their missiles, they turned on others who were in the rear guard, both horsemen and footmen who were exhausted by their march, and cut them down, nor did they make an end of their slaughter before they were stopped in their pursuit by the night, which was very dark. But the king followed his men and came to Verneuil, which he repaired with great speed. Then he went to Rouen, and when he he learned that Earl Hugh of Chester and Ralph Bulger, energetic soldiers who had already defected to his son Henry, had captured the castle of Dole in Britanny and were throwing everything into confusion with fighting, he sent some captains of war as an aid to his subjects. These defeated their enemies in a joined battle, and sent Hugh and Ralph ahead to the king, together with many other captive. During those same days there was a equally successful fight in England. For a large multitude of enemies gathered in Leicester (Robert, the Earl of that place, belonged to young Henry’s faction), so that it might take the opportunity of attacking Earl Rainald of Cornwall and Richard Lacey, the leaders of the royal army. But they perceived the enemies’ plan and did not hesitate to join forces and hurry to Leicester. Meeting the enemy, they easily routed them. Then they set siege to the town. The townsmen obtained permission to depart with all their goods, and then it was surrendered and they would have leveled it, if they could have captured the castle, which was rendered very safe by the nature of the terrain.
15. After a few days had passed and Louis, hearing that Henry’s affairs were beginning to go better than he had expected, wanted to render his mind downcast in some way, if he would not yield, or lift him up with hopes of peace, if he would. For he knew Henry had firmly decided to suffer all hardships rather than fight against his sons. So he met with him at Gisors, and in this way, as they say, he offered him bread with one hand, and a stone with the other. Here Henry, being a devotee of peace, offered so many concessions that he almost swayed his sons’ minds to a reconciliation, when some troublemakers so dealt with them that, ultimately content with no concessions at all, they left the conference with the business unsettled. And so at their departure hurtful words were exchanged. A shout was raised and the English, who could not tolerate this mockery, suddenly attacked the French in a hurly-burly. But they were immediately recalled by King Henry, and threw a scare into the French more than they actually killed them. And for King Louis, who thought it served his plan to protect his son-in-law from harm, nothing was further from his thoughts for the moment than to come to blows. But a few days later he sent back to England with a large number of soldiers Earl Robert of Leicester, who a little had escaped to the Continent after being denuded of his army. Leicester was to join forces with Hugh Bigot, and both were to try to gain all England for the young Henry, partly by passing through its country, and partly by swaying men’s minds with gifts. Complying with Bigot’s plan, the earl went to Norwich, and took it at the first attempt since it was ungarrisoned. Meanwhile the islanders learned of the arrival of these enemies, and great forces collected from neighboring places. Soon thereafter there arrived Richard Lacey and Humfrey, the Master of Horse, a man most skilled at warfare, with the royal cavalry, which a little earlier had been harrying the Scots with their inroads. Here they formed a plan and when all men shouted they were ready and willing to obey his orders, Richard, who had been entrusted with the supreme command by the elder Henry, immediately marched against the enemy. Then Robert, who had encamped by Bury St. Edmonds, a town in Suffolk, understanding that because of altered circumstances he was obliged to adopt a far different strategy than his original design, which was not to acquire anything, but to preserve the army safe and sound. Therefore, since flight would be both disgraceful and dangerous, and he could not keep himself within camp because of a shortage in his food supply, which had been provided day-to-day, he decided that their common safety had to depend on their courage. For this reason, as the royal forces quickly came up, he brought out his men in battle array and did not shrink from a fight. A sharp battle was joined. The French, whom Robert had purposefully sent in first against the enemy because that nation was almost invincible in a first encounter, did great slaughter. On their side, the English, knowing full well the nature of the French, elected to withstand their onslaught for a while until the enemies’ strength flagged from a lengthy combat. A sign that this was occurring was the fact that the French gradually began to fall back. Then the English, after every man had collected his wits, burst upon the enemy with great force, first breaking their ranks, and then cutting them down as they were confusedly dispersed. And Robert, seeing the flight of his men, endeavored with might and main to recall his scattered men and renew the struggle, and he did so with all the more industry because he saw that in their enthusiasm for a pursuit the enemy had likewise abandoned their order, and now, their bodies exhausted, were losing their impetus. From this he readily gained hope for success, if only he could collect his men. He was not wrong, but this multitude, scattered far and wide and pressed by the enemy, could in no wise be recalled. That day more than 10,000 were killed, and about the same number captured. The survivors retreated straight to Leicester, to protect both the town and themselves from harm by the enemy. Word of this battle quickly spread, not just into every part of the island, but also to France, and threw a scare into the rest of the enemies. But Louis in particular began to lose confidence, and a few days later he entered into a six-months truce with Henry, because he was now exhausted with so many efforts, and with suffering losses in another man’s cause.
16. Receiving news of the victory, Henry was overjoyed and ordered the captives to be brought to him in Normandy. Then he went to Anjou, where he reinforced all places with garrisons, so that at all times he might be free of anxiety concerning treachery. Meanwhile in England, although the minds of all men save a very few, were turned towards peace, nevertheless Roger Mowbray and Hugh Bigot, who had escaped from the battle wherein Robert of Leicester was captured, began so to solicit both Scotsmen and Englishmen with promises of money, and to win over the condemned and the exiled by promises of pardon, that they assembled no mean army, and, joined by David, the brother of the King of Scotland, they came pouring into Yorkshire. William King of Scots himself threw a wall around Carlisle, and when he saw that it could withstand a long siege, so that it could not be quickly taken by storm, he left behind a garrison sufficient to maintain his blockade, he himself went into the countryside and took a castle a little this side of the river Eden, which the inhabitants call Burgh, and another built on the bank of the same river which they call Appleby, together with others. Then he crossed the river and, ravaging his way through Northumbria, he attacked the strongly fortified town of Alnwick and attempted to storm it, though in vain. Meanwhile Duncan or Rothland, as others call him, a man distinguished by a cruelty unheard-of in human memory, the general of the royal forces, took the rest of the army and passed through Candalia, which they call Kendall, along the entire western coast bordering on Scotland, working devastation and showing himself equally cruel to all mortals. This impious enemy spared neither sex nor age, even if wailing matrons, old men and children stretched their hands out of their windows pleading for mercy. He did not even keep his hands off churches. For when priests and many others had taken refuge in those houses of God, he would suddenly smash down the walls and cruelly butcher those within. These things were speedily reported at Newcastle. For English cavalrymen had gathered here from all over when they saw that there was no hope in achieving anything on foot against the cavalry squadrons of their enemy, so that, if their greed for plunder induced them to scatter, they might be attacked unexpectedly. Their leaders were Robert Cook, Ralph Granula, William Vesey, and Bernard Baliol. So when they learned that the king was in one place, and that his general Duncan was raging against their fellow Englishman somewhere else, then one man would reproach another, “Is there anything left, if our footmen can do nothing worthwhile, and we horsemen do not attack the enemy?” After saying such things as this, they suddenly raised a shout and hastened against the king, who was barely two days away. But when they had gone a little way on their journey, a thick fog suddenly arose, and they halted, debating whether to go forward or return. For while they were ignorant of their enemy’s location, they were afraid of coming across him unawares. And so, while every man hung in doubt and some wanted go back until the sun burned off the fog, then Bernard Baliol, a stout fellow in a battle, said, “What, friends, more shameful thing can be added to the insult we have lately received from the King of Scots than for us to turn tail before catching sight of our enemy? Are we to be terrified by the obscurity of thin air, although it is working to our advantage? I think it beyond doubt that we are riding through our enemies as they roam about, and under the protection of the fog we will perhaps arrive safely at a place where we may catch the enemy unawares and unprepared. But I don’t want to be a soothsayer and predict the future, although I know this one thing, that by our courage we should by all means strive to redeem ourselves from the blame and infamy with which we have lately been covered, that we have not come to the aid of our people as they are perishing everywhere. And so, since it is far better to die an honorable death than disgracefully to save our skins, and since, if we should retreat, this mistake will be far worse than our earlier one, let whoever wishes our nation to be safe follow me.” And with these words he went on his way. The others followed, since his speech had roused the mind of every man against the enemy. And now much of the day was spent, when they caught sight of Alnwick And since they were unaware whether it was held by the Scots, they began to advance at a slower pace, looking around to see if they could find the enemy. And when they learned from rustics that the King of Scots had that very day despaired of victory and departed from that place, they turned aside to the town and were received by their fellow-Englishmen, and that night they took consultation about how to attack the enemy. On the morrow all of them armed themselves early in the morning, foddered their horses, and went out to attack their enemies, who were very dispersed as they drove off their plunder. Galloping over the fields to the right and left, they encircled a multitude of looters. The Scottish soldiers, seeing the English riders from afar, retrieved themselves from their ravaging with all the diligence and speed they could, but the majority of them had strayed so far afield in their eagerness for plunder that they never heard the signal. And yet their king, in high spirits, went with all the horsemen he could gather to confront the enemy, who were riding towards them with wonderful speed. A strange impromptu battle ensued, and for a while they fought on even terms. But the English pressed forward keenly, and the Scots horse, wearied by their previous foray in the countryside, and therefore unable to withstand the onslaught, either fell or sought safety in flight. The king, together with some others who had been the first to enter the fray, was captured at one and the same moment. And many other Scotsmen, who at the start of the battle had been far removed from their comrades, but who heard the din of horses and men and came running, were taken unawares. This was the year of human salvation 1175.
17. Having completed their work, on the following day the overjoyed Englishmen went towards Newcastle, taking the captive King of Scots with them, and quickly informed Henry of the victory they had gained. During those days he was subduing the citizens of Poitiers, who had defected. Meanwhile Hugh Bigot, undaunted by any reversal, gathered no mean band of soldiers and captured and sacked Norwich once more. Likewise the forces of the captive Earl Robert of Leicester, which I have previously shown had fled to Leicester, went to the town of Northampton, which is removed from Leicester by a distance of twenty-five miles. Under the leadership of Robert Ferris, a man of great courage and distinguished for his martial skill, they fought successfully and killed two hundred townsmen, wounding and capturing about the same number, and after their success they quickly retired whence they had come. Not much later the royal horsemen appeared, who pursued the fleeing enemy but failed to overtake them. Robert Ferris lingered ten days at Leicester, and then, having increased the number of his horsemen, he suddenly attacked and took Nottingham, threw out the royal garrison, and burned it, killing its townsman and giving their goods to his soldiers. This thing so broke the courage of neighboring men that many voluntarily submitted to the enemy. When young King Henry learned this from Robert’s frequent letters, he took heart from this victory and swelled with hope, and decided to prepare for war once more. Therefore, having gained help from Louis, who, now that the truce was expired, adjudged that he could supply assistance to his son-in-law at no risk to himself, encamped at Gravelines, a town on the French coast opposite Britain, and there assembled a fleet for transporting an army. When rumor of this was brought to the elder King Henry, he ordered his soldiers to take ship immediately, and, taking advantage of good sailing weather, returned to England. Here he first went to the tomb of St. Thomas and, always afraid lest his blood cry out from the earth, begged forgiveness with many a prayer. Then he assigned places to his soldiers so they might prevent his enemy from landing. Finally he went to Suffolk, marching to Hugh Bigot’s castle of Framingham, and encamped not far away. Learning this from captives, on the following day, Hugh, who held that castle with a large band of Flemish, with great difficulty obtained pardon for himself and his men, and promptly handed the castle over to Henry, and swore allegiance to him. Roger Mobray, Robert Ferris and many other followers of the young Henry did the same, since changes always hinge on things of small moment. And the king, thus victorious, returned to London, and not much later (or even a little earlier) he imprisoned his wife Eleanor for causing him new trouble by alienating his sons Richard and Geoffrey, as I have shown above.
18. Meanwhile King Louis, who had learned from deserters that Normandy was unguarded by any strong garrison, suddenly invaded the territory and besieged Rouen. And a little later the younger Henry, together with Count Philippe of Flanders (who had succeeded his dead father Theodoric), preferring this war to the English commotion, joined him, and there with their joint forces they formed plans for assaulting the city. On the other hand the every one of the townsmen, nothing frightened, turned to military duties. Some prepared weapons and manufactured munitions. Others held the bridge over the Seine in the quarter where the enemy was encamped, so they could admit aid, if the need arose. While the burghers of Rouen were preparing their defense, in the middle of the night the enemy came out of their camp and approached the walls, and, producing ladders, tried to storm the city. But the townsmen, seeing this, armed themselves for the defense and overturned the ladders, and threw the enemy into confusion with their slings, arrows, and stones, making sallies everywhere, waging continual battle by day and night. While the siege continued, behold, the Feast of St. Laurence was at hand, which Louis always observed with much pomp and veneration. So that day he rested from his labor and ordered his soldiers to stand down from their arms, and freely granted his enemy a truce for that space of time. This was welcome to the townsmen, but also came close to being their ruin. For they were worn out with the unaccustomed effort and most gladly laid down their arms and for that day gave themselves to rest and recreation. But while they were intent on their sports and games more wantonly than they should, they gave their enemy an opportunity to deceive them. The French observed the citizens were enjoying their leisure just as if no danger threatened, they asked their king to allow them to make a sudden onslaught against the city. To this the king replied, “I shall never make this day memorable to posterity because of a crime.” Nevertheless his soldiers, being avid for plunder, were not content with this answer and so wearied their sovereign with entreaties that in the end he permitted them to try their fortune. Therefore the French suddenly took up their weapons and, bringing ladders up to that part of the wall which they thought to be unguarded, tried to climb the walls. And some had got within and were helping up others, when divine favor suddenly manifested itself. It chanced that at the very moment two members of the college of priests were climbing the tower of the palace. Seeing the enemy’s deception, they immediately warned the citizens. Then the Normans, calling on St. Laurence, ran to the walls to avenge such perfidy. They cut down the French who had gotten in, cast down the ladders, and so pugnaciously attacked those who had come too close with missiles and stones that the rest, suffering many wounds, were quickly beaten back and retreated to the camp. Another help came to the townsmen that same day. For King Henry the father, who had long known his subjects were under siege, hastened out of England and was admitted to the chaotic city at night. The King of France, learning of his arrival, was unafraid. Rather, relying on his multitude, he continued the siege. Meanwhile in the still of the night the English king sent out his Welsh knights, who had been daily skirmishing against the enemy squadrons, and for a while they prevented provisions from coming into the French camp. And on the other side of the city almost daily he would open the gates and launch light sallies against the enemy. And so Louis, who by now was wearied of waging such a great war in the name of another man, recognized that the siege had been prolonged far beyond expectation. And so he quickly sent William Bishop of Sens and Earl Theobald of Blois to Henry to arrange a truce, conducting himself in such a way that peace with the sons would be arranged. When the truce had been procured, Henry, very desirous of this thing, appointed a day to meet with Louis at Gisors to complete the business. The French king, as soon as from his ambassadors he had learned the truce was in effect, broke camp and departed homeward, and after a few days he met with Henry at Gisors And there, since nothing definite could be agreed about a peace, the matter was deferred until another time.
19. As the truce with the King of France and the younger Henry remained in effect, after these things Henry moved against the citizens of Poitiers, most of whom his son Richard had made subject to himself while he was occupied with the French war. Richard, having learned of his father’s arrival and informed of the truce he had made with the King of France and his brother, was gnawed by uncertainty. For he thought he could neither wage such a great war without allies, nor amidst such perfidy of his old friends did he think it wise to trust the faith of his new ones in this fight. Nevertheless in the end, in no wise weakened in mind, he decided that he should place his trust in arms and resist his father. Therefore he strengthened with garrisons all the towns by which his enemy would have to pass by, and collected no mean band of soldiers and encamped not far away, keeping watch for a suitable opportunity for battle. Mean Henry occupied all the places he passed, partly by force, and partly by throwing a scare into their inhabitants, and it appeared he would do the same wherever he went. This thing terrified Richard to the point that he lost faith in his strength and began to drift away, nor did he dare wait for his pursuing enemy. Indeed in the end, when he saw that matters had been brought to a final pass, he accused his allies of having ungrateful minds because, heedless of their sworn loyalty, they had abandoned him. And, promising himself much concerning his father’s piety, he decided to change his position and surrender himself entirely to his father’s will and command. And this was a wholesome thing for him, because, as they say, afterthoughts are usually wiser. And so he suddenly set aside his arms, and voluntarily went to his father Henry, and humbly asked for forgiveness. His father received him peacefully, moved to pity because he seemed to be making this request with sincerity, and, embracing him with great charity, he henceforth treated him as if he had not sinned. And so he gave no sign of anger, which he did so that by this example of mercy he might allure his other sons to a reconciliation. And that this would happen more quickly, he sent Richard to King Louis and Henry, to deal with them about peace. At length he swayed the both of them to concord, and when a day had been appointed for a conference at Tours, he returned to his father. Henry rejoiced when he heard that the mind of his son Henry was not averse to peace, and on the chosen day he came to the conference, where Louis also came with Henry and Geoffrey. Here the father finally took back his sons into his good graces and they came to terms, made upon these conditions: first, that captives held by both sides should be returned unharmed, that the rest who had fought for either the father or the son should go unpunished, and that castles built during this time of war should be pulled down. Next, that Henry should provide his sons with generous pensions, on which they would be able to live honorably, albeit not lavishly, and that in all their dealings the sons should defer to their father’s wishes. And that be all the firmer, the kinship between them was renewed. The French king’s daughter Adele was bethrothed to Henry’s son Count Richard of Aquitaine and, since the girl was not yet nubile, she was brought to England and made a ward of the king until she came of age. These things done, the elder King Henry, forgetting all injuries, brought his sons home in this way. And the sons themselves, since this peace was equally to their liking, followed their father as he entered into Normandy, and first Richard and Geoffrey, and finally John swore oaths of fealty to him. The the elder went to Falaise and freed William King of Scots, Earl Robert of Leicester, and Earl Hugh of Chester, together with other nobles who had been kept there in custody, only lightly fining them and receiving hostages and oaths from each. But King William, since he was incapable of paying his fine, was obliged to hand over four strong castles over to the King of England, Berwick, Maiden Castle Roxburgh, and Sterling, with the agreement that if he broke his word in the future and did not pay a redemption fine of 100,000 pounds by a certain day, their possession would pass to the Kings of England forever. He was likewise mulcted of Huntingtonshire, and agreed that at no time would he receive English refugees in Scotland. These things were done was the year of human salvation 1176, and the twenty-second of Henry’s reign. Having accomplished them things with good success, Henry left his son Henry at Rouen and went to Argantan, and then made his way through the entire dukedom until he arrived at the mouth of the river Seine, which makes a port in Normandy capable of holding many ships. Here, while he was preparing a fleet to carry himself over to England, he summoned his son Henry by a letter, whom he had decided to bring with him. At the beginning the son refused to obey his father, since he thought he was not so much in his father’s good graces that he could be sure he had completely set aside his indignation, and so he feared plots against himself and refused to go to England. For he was persuaded by evil advisors that, were he go to England, he would swiftly be imprisoned. But his father so lovingly addressed him that in the end he came to Harfleur, which is a town situated at the mouth of the Seine, whence they set sail together a few days later. As they made their way from Portsmouth, where they landed, to London, all along the way they were thronged by cheering multitudes, and when they arrived at London they were greeted with the great shouts and cheers of all the city. In the selfsame year, a plenary synod of bishops was held in which many things were enacted for the preservation of religion, and it was particularly provided that headships of monasteries and other clerical offices, which until then could not be granted to any man because of the sinful war, should be bestowed on upright men, and this was done a little later.
20. The realm was at peace in all quarters, and in this way a surcease of both external and domestic wars had been achieved. And lest this be frittered away in sloth, the king made a progress through all of England so that the state of the kingdom might be improved. When he came to York, he summoned the King of Scotland with some of his nobility, and bade him swear an oath of fealty. This being done, he returned to England. The English annals do not record that anything else was accomplished in that conference. In those same days ambassadors came to Henry, sent from Ireland by King Rory of Connacht. He was not reluctant to give them an audience, since he preferred to settle matters with that wild people rather than wage a war that would bring him little glory and less advantage, so as not to fish with a golden hook. Therefore he imposed an annual tax, to be paid in cow-hides, he granted peace to his royal petitioner. This same year witnessed a pestilence and a famine in England, and when this disease disappeared not much later, Henry, vigilant over his affairs, arranged for a parliament of bishops and other nobles to be convened at Northampton. Present at this was a Cardinal named Hugh, a legate sent a little before by Pope Alexander to adjudge and settle controversies between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. At the same place he also convened a synod of English and Scottish bishops, in which, after hearing some suits and passing some decrees useful for the commonwealth and for good living, contrary to right it did not refuse to ratify a law that had been enacted in the parliament, that all the clergy who killed deer within royal parks or forests should be fined by a secular judge. Which thing, not just then but also in later times, was so contrary to law that even nowadays in many cases priests are haled before secular judges and punished just like other men. Once broken, law is easily abolished, and thus the priestly order suffered a great loss. Finally, it was proposed that power over the Scots bishops be restored to Roger Archbishop of York, the current occupant of that see, since from the beginning Popes had ordained that the Archbishop of York should also be the primate of Scotland, the Orkneys, and the other islands. And afterwards, when they had failed in this duty and the Archbishops of York had constantly complained of this injury, then Popes Pachal II, Calixtus II, Honorius, Innocent, Eugene III, and Hadrian IV had supported their cause, and by their frequent letters had attempted to return them to the province of York. But the Scots refused, and the controversy was referred to Pope Alexander, who did not come to a decision. And those papal letters are even now in good condition and are preserved by the college at York, and I have seen copies in a very ancient manuscript which Edward Lee, a few months ago elected Archbishop, allowed me to inspect. The principal reason why the Archbishop of York lost that right was the wars often fought between these peoples, since because of them Scottish bishops in need of consecration could not come to them at all times, so that a new primate was given to the Scots, as will be shown more clearly in Book XXIV. Edward Lee, a man who is by nature upright, holy and pious, and equally learned in Latin, Greek and Hebrew literature, and well approved in theology, and who understands how to plumb the meaning of Scripture, immediately began to inventory the property of his see, and so he found those monuments. Armed with them, he seems likely to treat about that business in a papal council, if one can ever be had in our time, because of the quarrels between our sovereigns. This synod dismissed, King Henry the younger crossed over to Normandy, intending soon to travel to the church of Santiago in Spain, but he did not do so because his father soon forbade him. In the same year the king’s daughter Joan was given in matrimony to King William of Sicily. Meanwhile, the young Henry lingered in Normandy and was once more suborned by like-minded into becoming ill-disposed towards his father, and daily he devised new plans for deposing his father, obtaining the kingdom, and ruling in his own right. When Adam his secretary reported this to the elder Henry, he was much reproached for this. Nevertheless his father, perceiving that his son’s evil mind was not ceasing in its old design, decided to conceal his knowledge. And, lest he be attacked unawares, since he saw his son was incorrigible, as soon as possible he carefully reinforced all places in England and Normandy with garrisons. This was the year of human salvation 1178, when the height of the ocean was so raised that it drowned many mortals.
21. Now winter came, bringing a cessation of arms, when the king was suddenly made more religious. He began asking Hugh the Roman legate and Richard of Canterbury to announce a synod of bishops and clergy, which they soon convened at Northampton. In that synod, while many and various things were being discussed about the condition of the Christian religion, lest his bad reputation continue, Henry first arranged that the see of Lincoln (which he had all but gobbled up) be assigned to Geoffrey, his son by a mistress. But that young man, scarcely of good character, after squandering the goods of the diocese for a while, neglected this great responsibility and left the see vacant once more for the fisc. Then, for the sake of expiating the murder of St. Thomas he had already vowed to found a new monastery, and the therefore asked them to discuss this matter. But in the meantime, since he had devised a scheme for fulfilling this vow out of another man’s pocket, he dealt privately with the legate and some of the bishops that the so-called secular priests be ejected from the college of Saint Cross, a religious house in the village of Waltham, which (as said at the end of Book VIII) is twelve miles distant from London, and that it be permitted to himself to install in their place regular canons, as they are called. And, lest he seem to be doing this more for the sake of saving his money than for that of the place, he promised great donatives for a college of this kind, of which he afterwards gave almost none. But the bishops scarcely denied the royal request, and so the secular canons were ejected and the regulars put in their place. Henry did nothing else memorable, save that by changing the ministers in this church of God, he left a precedent for later kings, thanks to which they dared overthrow the monuments of their predecessors. For, as I have shown above, King Harald had previously established this priestly college. At this time ambassadors came from Kings Alfonso of Castile and Garcia of Navarre, who announced to Henry that, after lengthy controversies over the possession of lands along their mutual border, they had at length exchanged hostages and decided to refer the entire matter to him, and had taken their oaths to stand by his decision. They therefore prayed that he would exercise his authority to put an end to their suit. Henry, made an umpire between kings, gave the ambassadors a friendly hearing and promptly referred the controversy to his Privy Council. Then, hearing the views of each councilor, in the end he handed down a verdict favoring one king, so that the other was obliged to abide by his judgment. Not much later Count Philippe of Flanders came to the tomb of St. Thomas for the sake of fulfilling a vow, and the king went to greet him. And on his departure he gave him a gift of five hundred marks, for he was going to Jerusalem. Then he returned to London, and from there went to Oxford. And while he lingered there, he restored Earl Robert of Leicester to his earldom, and made his son John Viceroy of all Ireland. They say that at this time the sky rained blood, and in its usual way the common people were distressed and began to fear John’s rule. In those days Margaret, the wife of young King Henry, gave birth to a son who lived no longer than three days. At that time there was a great multitude of Jews throughout all England, for whom there was no field for the burial of the dead except at London, so they were under the necessity of bringing the decaying corpses of their dead there from all over the kingdom. Therefore, to be freed of this inconvenience, they obtained from King Henry that they would have a graveyard assigned to them wherever they lived. In the same year the body of St. Amphibolus the Martyr, the teacher of St. Alban, was found not far from St. Albans itself, and was enshrined in the monastery sacred to that saint.
22. Meanwhile Henry crossed over to Normandy. For he had heard that the old quarrel between himself and King Louis, settled on another occasion, was gradually reviving. The reason was that Henry was purposefully inventing impediments to delay the marriage of his daughter Adele to his son Richard, to whom she had already been bethrothed, and whom Henry was keeping her at his court with the expectation this marriage would occur. Furthermore this old man, prone to a rather shameful lack of self-control, was wonderfully besotted with this girl and had begun to employ many sweet words to seduce her, in such a way that he would gradually undermine her chastity according to that very common proverb, bad conversations corrupt good morals, and (as rumor had it) he had finally taken her virginity. Louis therefore found this delay, full both of fraud and of sin, intolerable, and when Henry came to Normandy, before his hatred might break out into the open, he had a long intimate conversation with him. And Henry promised him that within a few days he would arrange for his daughter’s marriage. And at this meeting both pledged themselves to join forces and bring help to King Guy of Jerusalem, who at this time was being harassed by King Saladin of Egypt. This matter settled, the king left his son Henry in Normandy and sent Richard to Poitiers, and returned to England. Now it was the year 1179, when King Louis came to England to visit the tomb of St. Thomas in fulfillment of a vow, and Henry met him at the coast with great joy and pomp. Then they went together to Canterbury and visited the body of the sainted martyr with much veneration. Having performed his vow and being laden down with various gifts, Louis went back to France, where he lived only a few days, leaving a single son named Philippe, whom he had created king in his own lifetime. The following year was memorable for nothing except the untimely death of young King Henry, to whom it was denied to live longer as his just desserts, for he had preferred to begin his rule by impiety rather than dutifulness. Partly because of the shortness of his life, and partly because he had always been in his father’s tutelage, he is not reckoned in the series of kings, being a man who was designated a king but who never reigned. But the young man’s death was a seedbed of hatred between Henry and Philippe, and often supplied grounds for war, since Vaudancourt, which is part of the region of Gisors on this side of the river Epte had been given as a dowry to his son Henry, the husband of Margaret, so that on his death the King of France demanded back Vaudancourt, whereas the King of England strove to retain it, as another and more appropriate place will make clear. And the widowed Margaret returned to her brother Philippe immediate thereafter, and married King Bela of Hungary when he sent ambassadors asking for her hand in marriage. The third year of this suspension of all warfare was notable for the appointment of Hugh, the Cistercian Abbot of Witham monastery, to the see of Bath and Wells. He had served as governor of the see of Lincoln for nearly seventeen years, while it was deprived of a ruler, and was a most holy man in his times. Walter Constance had been designated the bishop before him, but since he had previously been created Bishop of Rouen and performed that duty, no place is given him in the roster of the Bishops of Lincoln. This year was also made memorable by the death of Richard Archbishop of Canterbury, who had sat for ten years, and he was followed by Baldwin Bishop of Worchester, the fortieth in order of archbishops. In those same days Roger Archbishop of York departed this life, in his twenty-seventh year of office. It is said that thereafter the see of York lay vacant for eight years, and meanwhile the fisc received its income, lest it perish.
23. In those times King Saladin of the Saracens, a very brave man, wonderfully afflicted the Christians in Syria, finding the opportunity for his success in the quarrel of our princes in Syria. for King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, a leper, wished to live a bachelor, and to protect his interests he betrothed his sister Sibylla to William of Montserat, hoping that as the result of this kingship William, an energetic man, would support him in any emergency. William fathered a boy named Baldwin on Sibylla, and died not much thereafter. After his death Baldwin gave Sibylla in marriage to Guy of Lusignan, of a family of Poitou, on the condition that after his own death Guy would only govern the realm as a protector until Baldwin came of age to rule. But when Guy conducted himself too arrogantly, Baldwin replaced him as protector with Count Raimond of Tripoly. King Baldwin died not long thereafter, and the Count of Tripoly, prevented by Guy and Sibylla, could not assume care of the boy. The lad was murdered soon thereafter, and Guy was made king. The Count of Tripoly took this hard and, for the sake of stirring up greater hatred against Guy, he entered into a truce with Saladin, shamefully abandoned his duties, and, becoming a more savage enemy, daily inflicted great slaughter on our side. And so they say our captains, foreseeing how much danger threatened our religion from this very ferocious enemy, and desiring to look after their affairs in a timely manner, at the first possible moment sent Heraclius the Patriarch of Jerusalem first to Pope Lucius III, and then to the other sovereigns, begging for a new draft of soldiers; after he had dealt with the Pope, he went to King Philippe in France, and lastly to King Henry in England, and he began to ask, pray, and beseech that at length they take up arms and come to the aid of our captains struggling in Syria, in order to protect Christendom, as they had once vowed, since he was sure they would reap great profit from this toil, for the well-deserving are always repaid with an eternal reward. To this Henry is said to have replied that he was prevented by time and forbidden by seditions both domestic and external, and therefore promised to provide money for soldiers’ salaries. this the Patriarch retorted, “You are doing nothing, king. We have no need of money, which many men give us in abundance, but rather for a commander who might wage war with his brave soldiers, such as everyone knows you possess.” Then Henry excused himself because of the many preoccupations which prevented him from military service at present, and with good and pleasant words escorted Heraclius as far as Dover, from which he was to sail over to France. But before the prelate departed, he is said to have bared his breast and said, “You are a most ungrateful sovereign, because you not only refuse to serve God Almighty in exchange for all the benefits you have received, but also cheat Him, and trust me, He will deservedly abandon you. And although, as I see, you are unhappy to hear such things (for the king had grown angry), I shall nevertheless not keep silent about these things, since it does not matter whether I am killed here by yourself, an impious Christian, or in Syria by the Saracens.” The king quickly replied, “If all my people had a single tongue, beyond doubt, that tongue would not dare say such things to me.” “But,” aid the prelate, “since you are beloved to nobody, no man reproaches you for your sins, so that you may always live a bad life and in the end die a bad death.” Having said these things, Heraclius crossed over into the content. But some say that Heraclius received the first answer and, abandoning all hope of gaining aid, immediately departed, and with them I am more inclined to agree.
24. In this same year Duke Geoffrey of Paris, the son of the King of Britanny, died of disease, and was buried in that city in Notre Dame cathedral. He left a single son, Arthur, as his heir. So leisure obtained in England. And it was the year 1186 when the city of Jerusalem, ennobled by the death of Christ our Saviour, was captured by Saladin and the eighty-eighth year after having been taken Godfrey and the other Christian captains. When the sad news came to Italy, that excellent Pope Urban III was especially stricken with grief, and died in mid-journey at Farrara while preparing to send help to our men. Then Clement III published an edict about waging war against the Saracens, and many volunteered, among whom was Richard, one of the king’s sons. Meanwhile, hatred blazed between King Philippe and Henry, partly about the failure to return Vaudancourt, and partly because Richard had not sworn the oath of fealty he owed to Philippe for his possession of Aquitaine, which he had procrastinated in giving. So to forestall his enemy, Philippe invaded English territory with large forces, penetrating as far as Saint-Cyr-de-Vaudreuil, and besieged that place. When Henry found out about this, he immediately gathered an army and joined Richard in coming to his subjects’ aid. And, pitching camp in the sight of his enemy, he refreshed his soldiers, weary from the march, intending immediately thereafter to offer the French opportunity for a battle. But before they could come to blows, peace was settled between them on fair conditions, by the intervention of Cardinal John, a papal legate sent a little before by Clement to reconcile these kings. At the same time there arrived messengers from Asia, who related that after the capture of the holy city Saladin had laid waste to everything among our men, and that very few places were steadfast in their loyalty. At this news, Kings Philippe and Henry were especially stricken by sorrow and came to a conference not far from Gisors, and there, according to our custom, they took the cross against our common enemy and quickly parted to prepare their armies. But, as I think, an evil demon greatly begrudged Christian affairs. For the plan turned out otherwise, as the peace between these kings remained inviolate for only a little while. French writers turn the blame for this crime and perfidy to the discredit of the English, saying that Richard broke the treaty and waged war on Count Raimond of Toulouse. On the contrary, English writers wish the guilt to reside with the French, stating that Philippe, being impious, disturbed the peace and started a war to prevent Henry from gathering the army he was going to lead on Crusade.. And so writers of this kind, loving their nations more than the truth, while they blame each other back and fourth are not writing history, but rather bear grudges in their debating, and vent their spleens, so that you do not know whom to follow as the more truthful. But whoever violated that truce, it is well enough agreed that King Philippe, quickly taking up arms, captured from the English Saint-Cyr-de-Vaudreuil, Buzacy, Argantan, Montrichard, Montrésor, Vendôme, Levroux, and Paluel, and at that very same moment Richard took Mosles and other towns.
25. But Henry, who at the time was in England recruiting an army to fight the Crusade, hearing news about Philippe’s activities, suddenly crossed over to Normandy and, invading the territory of its neighbors, wasted many places with steel and fire. But because the enemy was superior in numbers and, having heard of his arrival, contained themselves within their camp, he thought that requital for this insult needed to be postponed to another time, and so he turned back to Gisors. While Henry lingered here, to the troubles he had received from the French was added another, far graver one. For his son Richard asked for permission to marry Philippe’s sister Adele, whom he had long kept with himself, and this elderly lover refused to give her over, making many excuses and much procrastination, since he had secretly seduced her, as I have shown above. He had made up his mind to divorce Eleanor and marry her and, relying on her kinship, if she were to bear him any sons, he would disinherit those he had had by Eleanor. Therefore Richard, impatient of delay and uncommonly angry at this father, betook himself to Philippe, and was followed not long thereafter by his brother John, and the larger part of the army went over to the enemy along with them. This development filled Henry with such sorrow that afterwards he began to pine with grief. But Philippe, having by this means gotten a happy occasion for declaring war, went to Le Mans at the first possible moment with all his forces, and, having wasted the land all around it, besieged the city, in which Henry then resided. And he, either because he was far outmatched in strength or compelled by a fire which he himself had started in the suburbs lest those districts be of any use to the French, but that had been fanned by the wind and spread to the city, immediately left for Chinon. And so the citizens of Le Mans, stripped in a trice of their protection, surrendered to the enemy not much later. Elated by this victory, Philippe crossed the Loire, gained possession of Tours, and reinforced that city with a garrison. Having done these things with good success, he led home his army, enriched with plunder. Henry, beset with so many difficulties at one time, when he learned that Le Mans was in his enemies’ hands, was so distraught that he constantly shouted that would henceforth take back from God the heart, that is, the love, he owed Him, for allowing this beloved city to be occupied by his enemy. But he immediately collected himself, acknowledged his error, and abandoned it. Still, sick in both body and mind, he was thoroughly demoralized about his affairs, and of necessity, in view of time and the situation, chose to sue Philippe for peace, though he obtained nothing from his enemy. Without doubt he could easily have avoided these woes, which a few years earlier the Patriarch Heraclius had predicted he would suffer, had he had done less to measure the greatness of his power in terms of the license it afforded him for sinning, as Hugh of Lincoln had earnestly advised. Therefore, despairing both of his situation and his physical health, more oppressed by this combination of reversals than wasted by disease, he died on July 15, having reigned thirty-five years and nine months, in the year of human salvation 1176. And this was the end of the rule of Normans and French — i. e., of foreigners — 122 years after William I first gained England. For we may properly call those reigned afterwards Englishmen, because they were born in England and, steeped in the English language and manners, lived according to the style of that nation. And so, after the Normans and the French, England was given back to herself. Now I return to Henry.
26. He was buried at Chinon, where he ended his life. But some write that his body was borne with funeral pomp to the noble Benedictine monastery of St. Ebrulf in the diocese of Sagan, located near the town of Laigle, at the twentieth milestone within the province of Alençon, and there was buried. And on the journey, when Richard met the funeral procession of his father, blood suddenly gouted from the nose of the deceased, as if he were indignant at the sight of his son. His death is said to have been foretold by a wonderful prodigy, as it was then understood among the gullible commoners. A few days prior to his death, during the night fish leapt from a certain Norman lake onto the land, making such a noise that men came running to witness the miracle, and they found no surviving fish in the lake. As said above at the appropriate place, by Eleanor Henry had Eleanor, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John. Some add to these two that died prematurely. And also Mathilde, who he married to Duke Henry of Saxony, Eleanor, married to Alfonso VIII King of Castile (of whom was born Blanche, the mother of St. Louis of France), and Joan, who was wed by King William of Sicily. By a concubine he fathered William and Geoffrey. He was excellent and most strong of body, very well able to withstand heat and cold, with a large head, broad chest and stuttering voice. He was very sparing in his diet, particularly so he would not grow fat, and for this reason, even when he was free of martial responsibilities he would exercise his body with the hunt or by walking. He was of just stature and very comely form, had a nearly red complexion and gray eyes. He was very keen of wit, and had a very tenacious memory for what he had read or seen. He was possessed of a greatness of mind that was steadfast both in adversity and prosperity, save at the end of his life, in which he failed somewhat, being nearly bereft of all his friends. He employed liberality towards all men, often providing donatives to his soldiers, and rarely taxed his subjects. He was most skilled at the art of war, very lucky in his battles, and greatly missed and praised the soldiers he lost, weeping for them as he constantly remembered them, and he loved those who survived and heaped them with praises, so that by this means he might admonish his men to fear death the less because they knew that, having lived a strenuous life, they would be held in honor by posterity. He was not unlettered, and he was thought to be prudent.
27. And these are his recorded vices. When his fortune was running against him, no man was milder, kinder, or promised more things. When it was running in his favor, nobody was sharper, harsher, and readier to break his word. He was also noted for his avarice, for even if he was liberal towards his soldiers and foreigners, he was not so towards the members of his household, particularly towards his sons. He did not live justice and equity as much as he did self-advantage. Likewise he womanized excessively, which was the reason both his sons and his friends grew alienated from him. For, not content with his wife, he loved many women, and especially a juicy young girl whom he himself called Rosamunda, but the common people called The Rose of the World, because she as beautiful and graceful more than other women. For her he built a manor at Woodstock of wonderful workmanship, like a labyrinth, so his mistress could not easily be caught by his wife. But the girl did not live long, and her tomb can still be seen at Oxford in the nunnery called Godstowe, on which is inscribed these lines:
Rose of the world, not rose the fresh pure flower,
Within this tomb hath taken up her bower.
She scenteth now, and nothing sweet doth smell,
Who erst was wont to savor passing well.
Furthermore, Henry had less concern for religious matters than was fitting. He persecuted Thomas, that most holy man. He never allowed papal legates to enter the borders of his kingdom unless they promised on their oath not to recommend anything contrary to the customs of the kingdom, with which they complied, either out of fear or induced by gifts. He contributed no help to the Christian captains struggling in the Crusade. Although he tried to join that war two or three times, he always excused himself for some trifling reason, so that he never accomplished anything, although this can also be described to internal strife. I must not omit one thing here, although it is repeated by almost all writers. They say that in the family of the Counts of Anjou, whence this Henry had his origin, there was once a woman who was a witch, and in the end she was being compelled to worship the Eucharist she flew out a window and disappeared from men’s sight, for which reason they that St. Bernard, when he once had to speak of this Henry, predicted it would come to pass that he would fight with his sons, and his sons with each other, just as it happened. For so a wise man is wont to become a prophet. Men of notable fame lived at this time: Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury, distinguished distinguished for his learning and for the sanctity of his life; Hugh Bishop of Lincoln, in whom there was no less erudition than purity of morals, ennobled by miracles after his death. His death occurred in the sixth year of John’s reign, so shall say more of him when I come to those times. Likewise Richard of Winchester, Geoffrey of Ely, and Robert of Bath, bishops well-read in literature both divine and secular, and Aldred Bishop of Worcester, a good and very well-endowed man, who founded a Benedictine monastery at Gloucester, dedicating it to the Apostles Peter and Paul. And in those days there were also men who excelled in martial matters, Earl Robert of Leicester, where he founded a monastery of so-called regular canons, and who left a son as heir to his name and glory; Hugh Bigot, Earl Rainald of Cornwall, whom I have mentioned at the end of the life of Stephen, Robert Ferris, Richard Lacey, Roger Mowbray, Ralph Folger, Humfrey, Master of Horse (that is, Constable), Ralph Granula, William Vesey, and Bernard Baliol, nobles covered with much glory in war and in peace.
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