1124-27
A.D. 1124 . All this year was the King Henry in Normandy. That
was for the great hostility that he had with the King Louis of
France, and with the Earl of Anjou, and most of all with his own
men. Then it happened, on the day of the Annunciation of St.
Mary, that the Earl Waleram of Mellent went from one of his
castles called Belmont to another called Watteville. With him
went the steward of the King of France, Amalric, and Hugh the son
of Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and many other good knights.
Then came against them the king's knights from all the castles
that were thereabout, and fought with them, and put them to
flight, and took the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase,
and Hugh of Montfort, and five and twenty other knights, and
brought them to the king. And the king committed the Earl
Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, to close custody in the
castle at Rouen; but Hugh of Montfort he sent to England, and
ordered him to be secured with strong bonds in the castle at
Glocester. And of the others as many as he chose he sent north
and south to his castles in captivity. After this went the king,
and won all the castles of the Earl Waleram that were in
Normandy, and all the others that his enemies held against him.
All this hostility was on account of the son of the Earl Robert
of Normandy, named William. This same William had taken to wife
the younger daughter of Fulke, Earl of Anjou: and for this reason
the King of France and all the earls held with him, and all the
rich men; and said that the king held his brother Robert
wrongfully in captivity, and drove his son William unjustly out
of Normandy. This same year were the seasons very unfavourable
in England for corn and all fruits; so that between Christmas and
Candlemas men sold the acre-seed of wheat, that is two seedlips,
for six shillings; and the barley, that is three seedlips, for
six shillings also; and the acre-seed of oats, that is four
seedlips, for four shillings. That was because that corn was
scarce; and the penny was so adulterated, (151) that a man who
had a pound at a market could not exchange twelve pence thereof
for anything. In this same year died the blessed Bishop Ernulf
of Rochester, who before was Abbot of Peterborough. That was on
the ides of March. And after this died the King Alexander of
Scotland, on the ninth day before the calends of May. And David
his brother, who was Earl of Northamptonshire, succeeded to the
kingdom; and had both together, the kingdom of Scotland and the
earldom in England. And on the nineteenth day before the calends
of January died the Pope of Rome, whose name was Calixtus, and
Honorius succeeded to the popedom. This same year, after St.
Andrew's mass, and before Christmas, held Ralph Basset and the
king's thanes a wittenmoot in Leicestershire, at Huncothoe, and
there hanged more thieves than ever were known before; that is,
in a little while, four and forty men altogether; and despoiled
six men of their eyes and of their testicles. Many true men said
that there were several who suffered very unjustly; but our Lord
God Almighty, who seeth and knoweth every secret, seeth also that
the wretched people are oppressed with all unrighteousness.
First they are bereaved of their property, and then they are
slain. Full heavy year was this. The man that had any property,
was bereaved of it by violent guilds and violent moots. The man
that had not, was starved with hunger.

A.D. 1125 . In this year sent the King Henry, before Christmas,
from Normandy to England, and bade that all the mint-men that
were in England should be mutilated in their limbs; that was,
that they should lose each of them the right hand, and their
testicles beneath. This was because the man that had a pound
could not lay out a penny at a market. And the Bishop Roger of
Salisbury sent over all England, and bade them all that they
should come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither,
then were they taken one by one, and deprived each of the right
hand and the testicles beneath. All this was done within the
twelfth-night. And that was all in perfect justice, because that
they had undone all the land with the great quantity of base coin
that they all bought. In this same year sent the Pope of Rome to
this land a cardinal, named John of Crema. He came first to the
king in Normandy, and the king received him with much worship.
He betook himself then to the Archbishop William of Canterbury;
and he led him to Canterbury; and he was there received with
great veneration, and in solemn procession. And he sang the high
mass on Easter day at the altar of Christ. Afterwards he went
over all England, to all the bishoprics and abbacies that were in
this land; and in all he was received with respect. And all gave
him many and rich gifts. And afterwards he held his council in
London full three days, on the Nativity of St. Mary in September,
with archbishops, and diocesan bishops, and abbots, the learned
and the lewd; (152) and enjoined there the same laws that
Archbishop Anselm had formerly enjoined, and many more, though it
availed little. Thence he went over sea soon after Michaelmas,
and so to Rome; and (with him) the Archbishop William of
Canterbury, and the Archbishop Thurstan of York, and the Bishop
Alexander of Lincoln, and the Bishop J. of Lothian, and the Abbot
G. of St. Alban's; and were there received by the Pope Honorius
with great respect; and continued there all the winter. In this
same year was so great a flood on St. Laurence's day, that many
towns and men were overwhelmed, and bridges broken down, and corn
and meadows spoiled withal; and hunger and qualm (153) in men and
in cattle; and in all fruits such unseasonableness as was not
known for many years before. And this same year died the Abbot
John of Peterborough, on the second day before the ides of
October.

A.D. 1126 . All this year was the King Henry in Normandy -- all
till after harvest. Then came he to this land, betwixt the
Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas. With him came the queen,
and his daughter, whom he had formerly given to the Emperor Henry
of Lorrain to wife. And he brought with him the Earl Waleram,
and Hugh, the son of Gervase. And the earl he sent to
Bridgenorth in captivity: and thence he sent him afterwards to
Wallingford; and Hugh to Windsor, whom he ordered to be kept in
strong bonds. Then after Michaelmas came David, the king of the
Scots, from Scotland to this land; and the King Henry received
him with great worship; and he continued all that year in this
land. In this year the king had his brother Robert taken from
the Bishop Roger of Salisbury, and committed him to his son
Robert, Earl of Glocester, and had him led to Bristol, and there
put into the castle. That was all done through his daughter's
counsel, and through David, the king of the Scots, her uncle.

A.D. 1127 . This year held the King Henry his court at Christmas
in Windsor. There was David the king of the Scots, and all the
head men that were in England, learned and lewd. And there he
engaged the archbishops, and bishops, and abbots, and earls, and
all the thanes that were there, to swear England and Normandy
after his day into the hands of his daughter Athelicia, who was
formerly the wife of the Emperor of Saxony. Afterwards he sent
her to Normandy; and with her went her brother Robert, Earl of
Glocester, and Brian, son of the Earl Alan Fergan; (154) and he
let her wed the son of the Earl of Anjou, whose name was Geoffry
Martel. All the French and English, however, disapproved of
this; but the king did it for to have the alliance of the Earl
of Anjou, and for to have help against his nephew William. In
the Lent-tide of this same year was the Earl Charles of Flanders
slain in a church, as he lay there and prayed to God, before the
altar, in the midst of the mass, by his own men. And the King of
France brought William, the son of the Earl of Normandy, and gave
him the earldom; and the people of that land accepted him. This
same William had before taken to wife the daughter of the Earl of
Anjou; but they were afterwards divorced on the plea of
consanguinity. This was all through the King Henry of England.
Afterwards took he to wife the sister of the king's wife of
France; and for this reason the king gave him the earldom of
Flanders. This same year he (155) gave the abbacy of
Peterborough to an abbot named Henry of Poitou, who retained in
hand his abbacy of St. John of Angeli; but all the archbishops
and bishops said that it was against right, and that he could not
have two abbacies on hand. But the same Henry gave the king to
understand, that he had relinquished his abbacy on account of the
great hostility that was in the land; and that he did through the
counsel and leave of the Pope of Rome, and through that of the
Abbot of Clugny, and because he was legate of the Rome-scot.
But, nevertheless, it was not so; for he would retain both in
hand; and did so as long as God's will was. He was in his
clerical state Bishop of Soissons; afterwards monk of Clugny; and
then prior in the same monastery. Afterwards he became prior of
Sevigny; and then, because he was a relation of the King of
England, and of the Earl of Poitou, the earl gave him the abbacy
of St. John's minster of Angeli. Afterwards, through his great
craft, he obtained the archbishopric of Besancon; and had it in
hand three days; after which he justly lost it, because he had
before unjustly obtained it. Afterwards he procured the
bishopric of Saintes; which was five miles from his abbey. That
he had full-nigh a week (156) in hand; but the Abbot of Clugny
brought him thence, as he before did from Besancon. Then he
bethought him, that, if he could be fast-rooted in England, he
might have all his will. Wherefore he besought the king, and
said unto him, that he was an old man -- a man completely broken
-- that he could not brook the great injustice and the great
hostility that were in their land: and then, by his own
endearours, and by those of all his friends, he earnestly and
expressly entreated for the abbacy of Peterborough. And the king
procured it for him, because he was his relation, and because he
was the principal person to make oath and bear witness when the
son of the Earl of Normandy and the daughter of the Earl of Anjou
were divorced on the plea of consanguinity. Thus wretchedly was
the abbacy given away, betwixt Christmas and Candlemas, at
London; and so he went with the King to Winchester, and thence he
came to Peterborough, and there he dwelt (157) right so as a
drone doth in a hive. For as the drone fretteth and draggeth
fromward all that the bees drag toward [the hive], so did he. --
All that he might take, within and without, of learned and lewd,
so sent he over sea; and no good did there -- no good left there.
Think no man unworthily that we say not the truth; for it was
fully known over all the land: that, as soon as he came thither,
which was on the Sunday when men sing "Exurge quare o D-- etc."
immediately after, several persons saw and heard many huntsmen
hunting. The hunters were swarthy, and huge, and ugly; and their
hounds were all swarthy, and broad-eyed, and ugly. And they rode
on swarthy horses, and swarthy bucks. This was seen in the very
deer-fold in the town of Peterborough, and in all the woods from
that same town to Stamford. And the monks heard the horn blow
that they blew in the night. Credible men, who watched them in
the night, said that they thought there might well be about
twenty or thirty horn-blowers. This was seen and heard from the
time that he (158) came thither, all the Lent-tide onward to
Easter. This was his entry; of his exit we can as yet say
nought. God provide.

Notes:

(151) The pennies, or pence, it must be remembered, were of
silver at this time.
(152) i.e. Clergy and laity.
(153) This word is still in use, but in a sense somewhat
different; as qualms of conscience, etc.
(154) See an account of him in "Ord. Vit." 544. Conan, another
son of this Alan, Earl of Brittany, married a daughter of
Henry I.
(155) i.e. Henry, King of England.
(156) "A se'nnight", the space of seven nights; as we still say,
"a fortnight", i.e. the space of fourteen nights. The
French express the space of one week by "huit jours", the
origin of the "octave" in English law; of two by "quinte
jours". So "septimana" signifies "seven mornings"; whence
the French word "semaine".
(157) Literally, "woned". Vid Chaucer, "Canterbury Tales", v.
7745. In Scotland, a lazy indolent manner of doing anything
is called "droning".
(158) The Abbot Henry of Angeli.

Chronicle Years: 1121-23
Chronicle Years: 1128-35


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