1088-91
A.D. 1088 . In this year was this land much stirred, and filled
with great treachery; so that the richest Frenchmen that were in
this land would betray their lord the king, and would have his
brother Robert king, who was earl in Normandy. In this design
was engaged first Bishop Odo, and Bishop Gosfrith, and William,
Bishop of Durham. So well did the king by the bishop [Odo] that
all England fared according to his counsel, and as he would. And
the bishop thought to do by him as Judas Iscariot did by our
Lord. And Earl Roger was also of this faction; and much people
was with him all Frenchmen. This conspiracy was formed in Lent.
As soon as Easter came, then went they forth, and harrowed, and
burned, and wasted the king's farms; and they despoiled the lands
of all the men that were in the king's service. And they each of
them went to his castle, and manned it, and provisioned it as
well as they could. Bishop Gosfrith, and Robert the peace-
breaker, went to Bristol, and plundered it, and brought the spoil
to the castle. Afterwards they went out of the castle, and
plundered Bath, and all the land thereabout; and all the honor
(112) of Berkeley they laid waste. And the men that eldest were
of Hereford, and all the shire forthwith, and the men of
Shropshire, with much people of Wales, came and plundered and
burned in Worcestershire, until they came to the city itself,
which it was their design to set on fire, and then to rifle the
minster, and win the king's castle to their hands. The worthy
Bishop Wulfstan, seeing these things, was much agitated in his
mind, because to him was betaken the custody of the castle.
Nevertheless his hired men went out of the castle with few
attendants, and, through God's mercy and the bishop's merits,
slew or took five hundred men, and put all the others to flight.
The Bishop of Durham did all the harm that he could over all by
the north. Roger was the name of one of them; (113) who leaped
into the castle at Norwich, and did yet the worst of all over all
that land. Hugh also was one, who did nothing better either in
Leicestershire or in Northamptonshire. The Bishop Odo being one,
though of the same family from which the king himself was
descended, went into Kent to his earldom, and greatly despoiled
it; and having laid waste the lands of the king and of the
archbishop withal, he brought the booty into his castle at
Rochester. When the king understood all these things, and what
treachery they were employing against him, then was he in his
mind much agitated. He then sent after Englishmen, described to
them his need, earnestly requested their support, and promised
them the best laws that ever before were in this land; each
unright guild he forbade, and restored to the men their woods and
chaces. But it stood no while. The Englishmen however went to
the assistance of the king their lord. They advanced toward
Rochester, with a view to get possession of the Bishop Odo; for
they thought, if they had him who was at first the head of the
conspiracy, they might the better get possession of all the
others. They came then to the castle at Tunbridge; and there
were in the castle the knights of Bishop Odo, and many others who
were resolved to hold it against the king. But the Englishmen
advanced, and broke into the castle, and the men that were
therein agreed with the king. The king with his army went toward
Rochester. And they supposed that the bishop was therein; but it
was made known to the king that the bishop was gone to the castle
at Pevensea. And the king with his army went after, and beset
the castle about with a very large force full six weeks. During
this time the Earl of Normandy, Robert, the king's brother,
gathered a very considerable force, and thought to win England
with the support of those men that were in this land against the
king. And he sent some of his men to this land, intending to
come himself after. But the Englishmen that guarded the sea
lighted upon some of the men, and slew them, and drowned more
than any man could tell. When provisions afterwards failed those
within the castle, they earnestly besought peace, and gave
themselves up to the king; and the bishop swore that he would
depart out of England, and no more come on this land, unless the
king sent after him, and that he would give up the castle at
Rochester. Just as the bishop was going with an intention to
give up the castle, and the king had sent his men with him, then
arose the men that were in the castle, and took the bishop and
the king's men, and put them into prison. In the castle were
some very good knights; Eustace the Young, and the three sons of
Earl Roger, and all the best born men that were in this land or
in Normandy. When the king understood this thing, then went he
after with the army that he had there, and sent over all England.
and bade that each man that was faithful should come to him,
French and English, from sea-port and from upland. Then came to
him much people; and he went to Rochester, and beset the castle,
until they that were therein agreed, and gave up the castle. The
Bishop Odo with the men that were in the castle went over sea,
and the bishop thus abandoned the dignity that he had in this
land. The king afterwards sent an army to Durham, and allowed it
to beset the castle, and the bishop agreed, and gave up the
castle, and relinquished his bishopric, and went to Normandy.
Many Frenchmen also abandoned their lands, and went over sea; and
the king gave their lands to the men that were faithful to him.

A.D. 1089 . In this year the venerable father and favourer of
monks, Archbishop Landfranc, departed this life; but we hope that
he is gone to the heavenly kingdom. There was also over all
England much earth-stirring on the third day before the ides of
August, and it was a very late year in corn, and in every kind of
fruits, so that many men reaped their corn about Martinmas, and
yet later.

A.D. 1090 . Indiction XIII. These things thus done, just as we
have already said above, by the king, and by his brother and by
this men, the king was considering how he might wreak his
vengeance on his brother Robert, harass him most, and win
Normandy of him. And indeed through his craft, or through
bribery, he got possession of the castle at St. Valeri, and the
haven; and so he got possession of that at Albemarle. And
therein he set his knights; and they did harm to the land in
harrowing and burning. After this he got possession of more
castles in the land; and therein lodged his horsemen. When the
Earl of Normandy, Robert, understood that his sworn men deceived
him, and gave up their castles to do him harm, then sent he to
his lord, Philip, king of the Franks; and he came to Normandy
with a large army, and the king and the earl with an immense
force beset the castle about, wherein were the men of the King of
England. But the King William of England sent to Philip, king of
the Franks; and he for his love, or for his great treasure,
abandoned thus his subject the Earl Robert and his land; and
returned again to France, and let them so remain. And in the
midst of these things this land was much oppressed by unlawful
exactions and by many other misfortunes.

A.D. 1091 . In this year the King William held his court at
Christmas in Westminster, and thereafter at Candlemas he went,
for the annoyance of his brother, out of England into Normandy.
Whilst he was there, their reconciliation took place, on the
condition, that the earl put into his hands Feschamp, and the
earldom of Ou, and Cherbourg; and in addition to this, that the
king's men should be secure in the castles that they had won
against the will of the earl. And the king in return promised
him those many [castles] that their father had formerly won, and
also to reduce those that had revolted from the earl, also all
that his father had there beyond, except those that he had then
given the king, and that all those, that in England before for
the earl had lost their land, should have it again by this
treaty, and that the earl should have in England just so much as
was specified in this agreement. And if the earl died without a
son by lawful wedlock, the king should be heir of all Normandy;
and by virtue of this same treaty, if the king died, the earl
should be heir of all England. To this treaty swore twelve of
the best men of the king's side, and twelve of the earl's, though
it stood but a little while afterwards. In the midst of this
treaty was Edgar Etheling deprived of the land that the earl had
before permitted him to keep in hand; and he went out of Normandy
to the king, his sister's husband, in Scotland, and to his
sister. Whilst the King William was out of England, the King
Malcolm of Scotland came hither into England, and overran a great
deal of it, until the good men that governed this land sent an
army against him and repulsed him. When the King William in
Normandy heard this, then prepared he his departure, and came to
England, and his brother, the Earl Robert, with him; and he soon
issued an order to collect a force both naval and military; but
the naval force, ere it could come to Scotland, perished almost
miserably, a few days before St. Michael's mass. And the king
and his brother proceeded with the land-force; but when the King
Malcolm heard that they were resolved to seek him with an army,
he went with his force out of Scotland into Lothaine in England,
and there abode. When the King William came near with his army,
then interceded between them Earl Robert, and Edgar Etheling, and
so made the peace of the kings, that the King Malcolm came to our
king, and did homage, (114) promising all such obedience as he
formerly paid to his father; and that he confirmed with an oath.
And the King William promised him in land and in all things
whatever he formerly had under his father. In this settlement
was also Edgar Etheling united with the king. And the kings then
with much satisfaction departed; yet that stood but a little
while. And the Earl Robert tarried here full nigh until
Christmas with the king, and during this time found but little of
the truth of their agreement; and two days before that tide he
took ship in the Isle of Wight, and went into Normandy, and Edgar
Etheling with him.

Notes:

(112) i.e. jurisdiction. We have adopted the modern title of the
district; but the Saxon term occurs in many of the ancient
evidences of Berkeley Castle.
(113) i.e. of the conspirators.
(114) Literally "became his man" -- "Ic becom eowr man" was the
formula of doing homage.

Chronicle Year: 1087
Chronicle Years: 1092-94


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