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The History of England From the Norman Conquest by George Burton Adams

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of the barons of England a Danegeld of four shillings on the hide, double
the usual tax, was collected, and this even from the domain lands of the
Church, which it was asserted, though with doubtful truth, had always
been exempt. The clergy paid this tax, but entered formal protest against
it, probably in order to prevent, if possible, the establishment of a
precedent against their liberties. The additional payment suggested by
some of the chroniclers is to be seen in detail in the case of Anselm,
who regarded this as a reasonable demand on the part of the king, and
who, besides passing over to the treasury what he collected from his men,
made on advice a personal payment of 200 marks, which he borrowed from
the Canterbury monks on the security of one of his domain manors. Not
all the churches were so fortunate as to have the ready money in the
treasury, and in many cases ornaments and sacred utensils were
sacrificed, while the lay lords undoubtedly recovered their payments by
like personal auxilia from their men, until the second tax really
rested like the first upon the land. The whole formed a burden likely to
cripple seriously the primitive agriculture of the time, as we are told
that it did.

Having taken possession of Normandy, William returned to England at
Easter in 1097. The Welsh had been making trouble again, and the king
once more marched against them in person; but a country like Wales was
easily defended against a feudal army, and the expedition accomplished
little and suffered much, especially in the loss of horses. William
returned probably in no very amiable mood, and at once sent off a letter
to Anselm complaining that the contingent of knights which he had sent to
meet his obligation of service in the campaign was badly furnished and
not fit for its duties, and ordered him to be ready to do him right
according to the sentence of the king's court whenever he should bring
suit against him. To this letter Anselm paid no attention, and he
resolved to let the suit against him go by default, on the ground that
everything was determined in the court by the will of the king, and that
he could get no justice there. In taking this position, the archbishop
was putting himself in the wrong, for the king was acting clearly within
his legal rights; but this fact Anselm probably did not understand. He
could not enter into the king's position nor his own in relation to him,
but he might have remembered that two years before, for once at least,
the king had failed to carry through his will in his court.

The case came on for trial at the Whitsuntide court at Windsor, but
before anything was determined Anselm sent by certain barons to ask the
king's leave to go to Rome, which was at once refused. This action was
evidently not intended by Anselm as an appeal of the case to Rome, nor
was it so understood by the king; but for some reason the suits against
him were now dropped. Anselm's desire to visit Rome apparently arose from
the general condition of things in the kingdom, from his inability to
hold synods, to get important ecclesiastical offices filled, or to reform
the evils of government and morals which prevailed under William. In
other words, he found himself nominally primate of England and
metropolitan of the great province of Canterbury, but in reality with
neither power nor influence. Such a condition of things was intolerable
to a man of Anselm's conscientiousness, and he had evidently been for
some time coming to the conclusion that he must personally seek the
advice of the head of the Church as to his conduct in such a difficult
situation. He had now definitely made up his mind, and as the Bishop of
Winchester told him at this time, he was not easy to be moved from a
thing he had once undertaken. He repeated his request in August, and
again in October of the same year. On the last occasion William lost his
temper and threatened him with another suit in the court for his
vexatious refusal to abide by the king's decision. Anselm insisted on his
right to go. William pointed out to him, that if he was determined to go,
the result would be the confiscation of the archbishopric,--that is, of
the barony. Anselm was not moved by this. Then the bishops attempted to
show him the error of his ways, but there was so little in common between
their somewhat worldly position as good vassals of the king, and his
entire other-worldliness, that nothing was gained in this way. Finally,
William informed him that if he chose he might go, on the conditions
which had been explained to him,--that is, of the loss of all that he
held of the king. This was permission enough for Anselm, and he at once
departed, having given his blessing to the king.

No case could be more typical than this of the irreconcilable conflict
between Church and State in that age, irreconcilable except by mutual
concessions and compromise, and the willingness of either to stand partly
in the position of the other. If we look at the matter from the political
side, regarding the bishop as a public officer, as a baron in a feudally
organized state, the king was entirely right in this case, and fully
justified in what he did. Looking at the Church as a religious
institution, charged with a spiritual mission and the work of moral
reformation, we must consider Anselm's conduct justified, as the only
means by which he could hope to obtain freedom of action. Both were in a
very real sense right in this quarrel, and both were wrong. Not often
during the feudal period did this latent contradiction of rights come to
so open and plain an issue as this. That it did so here was due in part
to the character of the king, but in the main to the character of the
archbishop. Whether Lanfranc could have continued to rule the Church in
harmony with William Rufus is an interesting question, but one which we
cannot answer. He certainly would not have put himself legally in the
wrong, as Anselm did, and he would have considered carefully whether the
good to be gained for the cause of the Church from a quarrel with the
king would outweigh the evil. Anselm, however, was a man of the
idealistic type of mind, who believed that if he accepted as the
conditions of his work the evils with which he was surrounded, and
consented to use the tools that he found ready to his hand, he had made,
as another reformer of somewhat the same type once said of the
constitution of the United States in the matter of slavery, "a covenant
with death and an agreement with hell."

Anselm left England early in November, 1097, not to return during the
lifetime of William. If he had hoped, through the intervention of the
pope, to weaken the hold of the king on the Church of England, and to be
put in a position where he could carry out the reforms on which his heart
was set, he was doomed to disappointment. After a stay of some months at
Lyons, with his friend Archbishop Hugh, he went on to Rome, where he was
treated with great ceremonial honour by the pope, but where he learned
that the type of lofty and uncompromising independence which he himself
represented was as rare in the capital of the Christian world as he had
found it among the bishops of England. There, however, he learned a
stricter doctrine on the subject of lay investitures, of appointments to
ecclesiastical office by kings and princes, than he had yet held, so that
when he finally returned to England he brought with him the germs of
another bitter controversy with a king, with whom but for this he might
have lived in peace.

In the same month with Anselm, William also crossed to Normandy, but
about very different business. Hardly had he obtained possession of the
duchy when he began to push the claims of the duke to bordering lands, to
the French Vexin, and to the county of Maine, claims about which his
brother had never seriously concerned himself and which, in one case,
even his father had allowed to slumber for years. Robert had, indeed,
asserted his claim to Maine after the death of his father, and had been
accepted by the county; but a revolt had followed in 1190, the Norman
rule had been thrown off, and after a few months Elias of La Fleche, a
baron of Maine and a descendant of the old counts, had made himself
count. He was a man of character and ability, and the peace which he
established was practically undisturbed by Robert; but the second William
had no mind to give up anything to which he could lay a claim. He
demanded of the French king the surrender of the Vexin, and warned Elias,
who had taken the cross, that the holy errand of the crusade would not
protect his lands during his absence. War followed in both cases,
simultaneous wars, full of the usual incidents, of the besieging of
castles, the burning of towns, the laying waste of the open country; wars
in which the ruin of his peasantry was almost the only way of coercing
the lord. William's operations were almost all successful, but he died
without accomplishing all that he had hoped for in either direction. In
the Vexin he captured a series of castles, which brought him almost to
Paris; in Maine he captured Le Mans, lost it again, and finally recovered
its possession, but the southern part of the county and the castles of
Elias there he never secured.

In the year 1098 Magnus, king of Norway, had appeared for a moment with a
hostile fleet off the island of Anglesey. Some reason not certainly known
had brought him round Scotland, perhaps to make an attack on Ireland. He
was the grandson of the King Harold of Norway, who had invaded England on
the eve of the Norman Conquest and perished in the battle of Stamford
Bridge, and he had with him, it is said, a son of Harold of England: to
him the idea of a new invasion of England would not seem strange. At any
rate, after taking possession of the Isle of Man, he came to the help of
the Welsh against the earls, Hugh of Chester and Hugh of Shrewsbury, who
were beginning the conquest of Anglesey. The incident is noteworthy
because, in the brief fighting which occurred, the Earl of Shrewsbury was
slain. His death opened the way for the succession of his brother, Robert
of Belleme, to the great English possessions of their father in Wales,
Shropshire, and Surrey, to which he soon added by inheritance the large
holdings of Roger of Bully in Yorkshire and elsewhere. These
inheritances, when added to the lands, almost a principality in
themselves, which he possessed in southern Normandy and just over the
border in France, made him the most powerful vassal of the English king.
In character he had inherited far more from his tyrannous and cruel
mother, Mabel, daughter of William Talvas of Belleme, than from his more
high-minded father, Roger of Montgomery, the companion of the Conqueror.
As a vassal he was utterly untrustworthy, and he had become too powerful
for his own safety or for that of the king.

Some minor events of these years should be recounted. In 1097 William had
sent Edgar the atheling to Scotland with an army, King Donald had been
overthrown, and Edgar's nephew, himself named Edgar, with the support of
the English king, had been made king. In 1099 Ranulf Flambard received
the reward of his faithful services, and was made Bishop of Durham, in
some respects the most desirable bishopric in England. Greater prospects
still of power and dominion were opened to William a few months before
his death, by the proposition of the Duke of Aquitaine to pledge him his
great duchy for a sum of money to pay the expenses of a crusade. To add
to the lands he already ruled those between the Loire and the Garonne
would be almost to create a new monarchy in France and to threaten more
dangerously at this moment the future of the Capetian kingdom than did
two generations later the actual union of these territories and more
under the king of England.

But William was now rapidly approaching the term of his life. The
monastic chronicles, written within a generation or two later, record
many visions and portents of the time foreshadowing the doom which was
approaching, but these are to us less records of actual facts than
evidences of the impression which the character and government of the
king had made, especially upon the members of the Church. On August 2,
1100, William rode out to hunt in the New Forest, as was his frequent
custom. In some way, how we do not know, but probably by accident, he was
himself shot with an arrow by one of his company, and died almost
instantly. Men believed, not merely that he was justly cut off in his
sins with no opportunity for the final offices of the Church, but that
his violent death was an instance, the third already, of the doom which
followed his father's house because of the evil that was done in the
making of the Forest. The king's body was brought to Winchester, where it
was buried in the old minster, but without the ordinary funeral rites.
One of his companions that day, Walter Tirel, a French baron who had been
attracted to the service of the king by the prospect of rich reward which
it offered, was thought to have been responsible for his death, and he
fled in haste and escaped to his home; but he afterwards solemnly
declared, when there would have been no danger to himself in confession,
that it was not his arrow that slew the king, and whose it was will never
be known.

[15] Eadmer, Hist. Nov., p. 41.



In the hunting party which William Rufus led out on August 2, 1100, to
his mysterious death in the New Forest, was the king's younger brother,
Henry. When the cry rang through the Forest that the king was dead, Henry
seized the instant with the quick insight and strong decision which were
marked elements of his genius. He rode at once for Winchester. We do not
even know that he delayed long enough to make sure of the news by going
to the spot where his brother's body lay. He rode at full speed to
Winchester, and demanded the keys of the royal treasury, "as true heir,"
says Ordesic Vitalis, one of the best historians of Henry's reign,
recording rather, it is probable, his own opinion than the words of the
prince. Men's ideas were still so vague, not yet fixed and precise as
later, on the subject of rightful heirship, that such a demand as
Henry's--a clear usurpation according to the law as it was finally to
be--could find some ground on which to justify itself; at least this,
which his historian suggests and which still meant much to English minds,
that he was born in the purple, the son of a crowned king.

But not every one was ready to admit the claim of Henry. Between him and
the door of the treasury William of Breteuil, who also had been of the
hunting party and who was the responsible keeper of the hoard, took his
stand. Against the demand of Henry he set the claim of Robert, the better
claim according even to the law of that day, though the law which he
urged was less that which would protect the right of the eldest born than
the feudal law regarding homage done and fealty sworn. "If we are going
to act legally," he said to Henry, "we ought to remember the fealty which
we have promised to Duke Robert, your brother. He is, too, the eldest
born son of King William, and you and I, my Lord Henry, have done him
homage. We ought to keep faith to him absent in all respects as if he
were present." He followed his law by an appeal to feeling, referring to
Robert's crusade. "He has been labouring now a long time in the service
of God, and God has restored to him, without conflict, his duchy, which as
a pilgrim he laid aside for love of Him." Then a strife arose, and a
crowd of men ran together to the spot. We can imagine they were not
merely men of the city, but also many of the king's train who must have
ridden after Henry from the Forest. Whoever they were, they supported
Henry, for we are told that as the crowd collected the courage of the
"heir who was demanding his right" increased. Henry drew his sword and
declared he would permit no "frivolous delay." His insistence and the
support of his friends prevailed, and castle and treasury were turned
over to him.[16]

This it was which really determined who should be king. Not that the
question was fully settled then, but the popular determination which
showed itself in the crowd that gathered around the disputants in
Winchester probably showed itself, in the days that followed, to be the
determination of England in general, and thus held in check those who
would have supported Robert, while Henry rapidly pushed events to a
conclusion and so became king. There is some evidence that, after the
burial of William, further discussion took place among the barons who
were present, as to whether they would support Henry or not, and that
this was decided in his favour largely by the influence of Henry of
Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, son of his father's friend and counsellor, the
Count of Meulan. But we ought not to allow the use of the word witan in
this connexion, by the Saxon chronicler, or of "election" by other
historians or by Henry himself, to impose upon us the belief in a
constitutional right of election in the modern sense, which could no more
have existed at that time than a definite law of inheritance. In every
case of disputed succession the question was, whether that one of the
claimants who was on the spot could secure quickly enough a degree of
support which would enable him to hold the opposition in check until he
became a crowned king. A certain amount of such support was indispensable
to success. Henry secured this in one way, Stephen in another, and John
again in a third. In each case, the actual events show clearly that a
small number of men determined the result, not by exercising a
constitutional right of which they were conscious, but by deciding for
themselves which one of the claimants they would individually support.
Some were led by one motive, and some by another. In Henry's case we
cannot doubt that the current of feeling which had shown itself in
Winchester on the evening of the king's death had a decisive influence on
the result, at least as decisive as the early stand of London was
afterwards in Stephen's case.

Immediately, before leaving Winchester, Henry performed one royal act of
great importance to his cause, and skilfully chosen as a declaration of
principles. He appointed William Giffard, who had been his brother's
chancellor, Bishop of Winchester. This see had been vacant for nearly
three years and subject to the dealings of Ranulf Flambard. The immediate
appointment of a bishop was equivalent to a proclamation that these
dealings should now cease, that bishoprics should no longer be kept
vacant for the benefit of the king, and it was addressed to the Church,
the party directly interested and one of the most powerful influences in
the state in deciding the question of succession. The speed with which
Henry's coronation was carried through shows that the Church accepted his

There was no delay in Winchester. William was killed on the afternoon of
Thursday, August 2; on Sunday, Henry was crowned in Westminster, by
Maurice, Bishop of London. Unhesitating determination and rapid action
must have filled the interval. Only a small part of England could have
learned of William's death when Henry was crowned, and he must have known
at the moment that the risk of failure was still great. But everything
indicates that Henry had in mind a clearly formed policy which he
believed would lead to success, and he was not the man to be afraid of
failure. The Archbishop of Canterbury was still in exile; the Archbishop
of York was far away and ill; the Bishop of London readily performed the
ceremony, which followed the old ritual. In the coronation oath of the
old Saxon formula, Henry swore, with more intention of remembering it
than many kings, that the Church of God and all Christian people he would
keep in true peace, that he would forbid violence and iniquity to all
men, and that in all judgments he would enjoin both justice and mercy.

The man who thus came to the throne of England was one of her ablest
kings. We know far less of the details of his reign than we could wish.
Particularly scanty is our evidence of the growth in institutions which
went on during these thirty-five years, and which would be of especial
value in illustrating the character and abilities of the king. But we
know enough to warrant us in placing Henry beyond question in the not
long list of statesmen kings. Not without some trace of the passions
which raged in the blood of the Norman and Angevin princes, he exceeded
them all in the strength of his self-control. This is the one most marked
trait which constantly recurs throughout the events of his long reign.
Always calm, we are sometimes tempted to say even cold, he never lost
command of himself in the most trying circumstances. Perfectly
clear-headed, he saw plainly the end to be reached from the distant
beginning, and the way to reach it, and though he would turn aside from
the direct road for policy's sake, he reached the goal in time. He knew
how to wait, to allow circumstances to work for him, to let men work out
their own destruction, but he was quick to act when the moment for action
came. Less of a military genius than his father, he was a greater
diplomatist. And yet perhaps we call him less of a military genius than
his father because he disliked war and gave himself no opportunities
which he could avoid; but he was a skilful tactician when he was forced
to fight a battle. But diplomacy was his chosen weapon, and by its means
he won battles which most kings would have sought to win by the sword.
With justice William of Malmesbury applied to him the words of Scipio
Africanus: "My mother brought me forth a general, not a mere soldier."

These were the gifts of nature. But when he came to the throne, he was a
man already disciplined in a severe school. Ever since the death of his
father, thirteen years before, when he was not yet twenty, the events
which had befallen him, the opportunities which had come to him, the
inferences which he could not have failed to make from the methods of his
brothers, had been training him for the business of his life. It was not
as a novice, but as a man experienced in government, that he began to
reign. And government was to him a business. It is clear that Henry had
always far less delight in the ordinary or possible glories of the
kingship than in the business of managing well a great state; and a name
by which he has been called, "The Lion of Justice," records a judgment of
his success. Physically Henry followed the type of his house. He was
short and thick-set, with a tendency to corpulence. He was not "the Red";
the mass of his black hair and his eyes clear and serene struck the
observer. Naturally of a pleasant disposition and agreeable to those
about him, he was quick to see the humorous side of things and carried
easily the great weight of business which fell to him. He was called
"Beauclerc," but he was never so commonly known by this name as William
by his of "Rufus." But he had, it would seem with some justice, the
reputation of being a learned king. Some doubtful evidence has been
interpreted to mean that he could both speak and read English. Certainly
he cherished a love of books and reading remarkable, at that time, in a
man of the world, and he seems to have deserved his reputation of a
ready, and even eloquent, speaker.

It was no doubt partly due to Henry's love of business that we may date
from his reign the beginning of a growth in institutions after the
Conquest. The machinery of good government interested him. Efforts to
improve it had his support. The men who had in hand its daily working in
curia regis and exchequer and chancery were certain of his favour, when
they strove to devise better ways of doing things and more efficient
means of controlling subordinates. But the reign was also one of advance
in institutions because England was ready for it. In the thirty-five
years since the Conquest, the nation which was forming in the island had
passed through two preparatory experiences. In the first the Norman, with
his institutions, had been introduced violently and artificially, and
planted alongside of the native English. It had been the policy of the
Conqueror to preserve as much as possible of the old while introducing
the new. This was the wisest possible policy, but it could produce as yet
no real union. That could only be the work of time. A new nation and a
new constitution were foreshadowed but not yet realized. The elements
from which they should be made had been brought into the presence of each
other, but not more than this was possible. Then followed the reign of
William II. In this second period England had had an experience of one
side, of the Norman side, carried to the extreme. The principles of
feudalism in favour of the suzerain were logically carried out for the
benefit of the king, and relentlessly applied to the Church as to the lay
society. That portion of the old English machinery which the Conqueror
had preserved fell into disorder, and was misused for royal, and worse
still, for private advantage. This second period had brought a vivid
experience of the abuses which would result from the exaggeration of one
of the elements of which the new state was to be composed at the expense
of the other. One of its most important results was the reaction which
seems instantly to have shown itself on the death of William Rufus, the
reaction of which Henry was quick to avail himself, and which gives us
the key to an understanding of his reign.

It is not possible to cite evidence from which we may infer beyond the
chance of question, either a popular reaction against the tyranny of
William Rufus, or a deliberate policy on the part of the new king to make
his hold upon the throne secure by taking advantage of such a reaction.
It is perhaps the duty of the careful historian to state his belief in
these facts, in less dogmatic form. And yet, when we combine together the
few indications which the chroniclers give us with the actual events of
the first two years of Henry's reign, it is hardly possible to avoid such
a conclusion. Henry seems certainly to have believed that he had much to
gain by pledging himself in the most binding way to correct the abuses
which his brother had introduced, and also that he could safely trust his
cause to an English, or rather to a national, party against the element
in the state which seemed unassimilable, the purely Norman element.

On the day of his coronation, or at least within a few days of that
event, Henry issued, in form of a charter,--that is, in the form of a
legally binding royal grant,--his promise to undo his brother's misdeeds;
and a copy of this charter, separately addressed, was sent to every
county in England. Considered both in itself as issued in the year 1100,
and in its historical consequences, this charter is one of the most
important of historical documents. It opens a long list of similar
constitutional documents which very possibly is not yet complete, and it
is in form and spirit worthy of the best of its descendants. Considering
the generally unformulated character of feudal law at this date, it is
neither vague nor general. It is to be noticed also, that the practical
character of the Anglo-Saxon race rules in this first charter of its
liberties. It is as business-like and clean cut as the Bill of Rights, or
as the American Declaration of Independence when this last gets to the
business in hand.

The charter opens with an announcement of Henry's coronation. In true
medieval order of precedence, it promises first to the Church freedom
from unjust exactions. The temporalities of the Church shall not be sold
nor put to farm, nor shall anything be taken from its domain land nor
from its men during a vacancy. Then follows a promise to do away with all
evil customs, and a statement that these in part will be enumerated. Thus
by direct statement here and elsewhere in the charter, its provisions are
immediately connected with the abuses which William II had introduced,
and the charter made a formal pledge to do away with them. The first
promises to the lay barons have to do with extortionate reliefs and the
abuse of the rights of wardship and marriage. The provision inserted in
both these cases, that the barons themselves shall be bound by the same
limitations in regard to their men, leads us to infer that William's
abuses had been copied by his barons, and suggests that Henry was looking
for the support of the lower ranks of the feudal order. Other promises
concern the coinage, fines, and debts due the late king, the right to
dispose by will of personal property, excessive fines, and the punishment
of murder. The forests Henry announces he will hold as his father held
them. To knights freedom of taxation is promised in the domain lands
proper of the estates which they hold by military service. The law of
King Edward is to be restored with those changes which the Conqueror had
made, and finally any property of the crown or of any individual which
has been seized upon since the death of William is to be restored under
threat of heavy penalty.

So completely does this charter cover the ground of probable abuses in
both general and local government, when its provisions are interpreted as
they would be understood by the men to whom it was addressed, that it is
not strange if men thought that all evils of government were at an end.
Nor is it strange in turn, that Henry was in truth more severe upon the
tyranny of his brother while he was yet uncertain of his hold upon the
crown, than in the practice of his later years. As a matter of fact, not
all the promises of the charter were kept. England suffered much from
heavy financial exactions during his reign, and the feudal abuses which
had weighed most heavily on lay and ecclesiastical barons reappeared in
their essential features. They became, in fact, recognized rights of the
crown. Henry was too strong to be forced to keep such promises as he
chose to forget, and it was reserved for a later descendant of his,
weaker both in character and in might of hand, to renew his charter at a
time when the more exact conception, both of rights and of abuses, which
had developed in the interval, enabled men not merely to enlarge its
provisions but to make them in some particulars the foundation of a new
type of government. Events rapidly followed the issue of the charter
which were equally emphatic declarations of Henry's purpose of reform,
and some of which at least would seem like steps in actual fulfilment of
the promises of the charter. Ranulf Flambard was arrested and thrown into
the Tower; on what charge or under what pretence of right we do not know,
but even if by some exercise of arbitrary power, it must have been a very
popular act. Several important abbacies which had been held vacant were
at once filled. Most important of all, a letter was despatched to
Archbishop Anselm, making excuses for the coronation of the king in his
absence, and requesting his immediate return to England. Anselm was at
the abbey of La Chaise Dieu, having just come from Lyons, where he had
spent a large part of his exile, when the news came to him of the death
of his royal adversary. He at once started for England, and was on his
way when he was met at Cluny by Henry's letter. Landing on September 23,
he went almost immediately to the king, who was at Salisbury. There two
questions of great importance at once arose, in one of which Anselm was
able to assist Henry, while the other gave rise to long-continued
differences between them.

The question most easily settled was that of Henry's marriage. According
to the historians of his reign, affection led Henry to a marriage which
was certainly most directly in line with the policy which he was carrying
out. Soon after his coronation, he proposed to marry Edith, daughter of
Malcolm, king of Scotland, and of Margaret, sister of the atheling Edgar.
She had spent almost the whole of her life in English monasteries, a good
part of it at Romsey, where her aunt Christina was abbess. Immediately
the question was raised, whether she had not herself taken the veil,
which she was known to have worn, and therefore whether the marriage was
possible. This was the question now referred to Anselm, and he made a
most careful examination of the case, and decision was finally pronounced
in a council of the English Church. The testimony of the young woman
herself was admitted and was conclusive against any binding vow. She had
been forced by her aunt to wear the veil against her will as a means of
protection in those turbulent times, but she had always rejected it with
indignation when she had been able to do so, nor had it been her father's
intention that she should be a nun. Independent testimony confirmed her
assertion, and it was formally declared that she was free to marry. The
marriage took place on November 11, and was celebrated by Anselm, who
also crowned the new queen under the Norman name of Matilda, which she

No act which Henry could perform would be more pleasing to the nation as
a whole than this marriage, or would seem to them clearer proof of his
intention to rule in the interest of the whole nation and not of himself
alone, or of the small body of foreign oppressors. It would seem like the
expression of a wish on Henry's part to unite his line with that of the
old English kings, and to reign as their representative as well as his
father's, and it was so understood, both by the party opposed to Henry
and by his own supporters. Whatever we may think of the dying prophecy
attributed to Edward the Confessor, that the troubles which he foresaw
for England should end when the green tree--the English dynasty--cut off
from its root and removed for the space of three acres' breadth--three
foreign reigns--should without human help be joined to it again and bring
forth leaves and fruit, the fact that it was thought, in Henry's reign,
to have been fulfilled by his marriage with Matilda and by the birth of
their children, shows plainly enough the general feeling regarding the
marriage and that for which it stood. The Norman sneer, in which the king
and his wife are referred to as Godric and Godgifu, is as plain an
indication of the feeling of that party. Such a taunt as this could not
have been called out by the mere marriage, and would never have been
spoken if the policy of the king, in spite of the marriage, had been one
in sympathy with the wishes of the extreme Norman element.

But if it was Henry's policy to win the support of the nation as a whole,
and to make it clear that he intended to undo the abuses of his brother,
he had no intention of abandoning any of the real rights of the crown.
The second question which arose on the first meeting of Anselm and Henry
involved a point of this kind. The temporalities of the Archbishop of
Canterbury were still in the king's hands, as seized by William Rufus on
Anselm's departure. Henry demanded that Anselm should do homage for this
fief, as would any baron of the king, and receive it from his hand. To
the astonishment of every one, Anselm flatly refused. In answer to
inquiries, he explained the position of the pope on the subject of lay
investiture, declared that he must stand by that position, and that if
Henry also would not obey the pope, he must leave England again. Here was
a sharp issue, drawn with the greatest definiteness, and one which it was
very difficult for the king to meet. He could not possibly afford to
renew the quarrel with Anselm and to drive him into exile again at this
moment, but it was equally impossible for him to abandon this right of
the crown, so long unquestioned and one on which so much of the state
organization rested. He proposed a truce until Easter, that the question
might be referred to the pope, in the hope that he would consent to
modify his decrees in view of the customary usages of the kingdom, and
agreeing that the archbishop should, in the meantime, enjoy the revenues
of his see. To this delay Anselm consented, though he declared that it
would be useless.

According to the archbishop's devoted friend and biographer, Eadmer, who
was in attendance on him at this meeting at Salisbury, Anselm virtually
admitted that this was a new position for him to take. He had learned
these things at Rome, was the explanation which was given; and this was
certainly true, though his stay at Lyons, under the influence of his
friend, Archbishop Hugh, a strong partisan of the papal cause, was equally
decisive in his change of views.[17] He had accepted investiture
originally from the hand of William Rufus without scruple; he had never
objected to it with regard to any of that king's later appointments. In
the controversy which followed with Henry, there is nothing which shows
that his own conscience was in the least degree involved in the question.
He opposed the king with his usual unyielding determination, not because
he believed himself that lay investiture was a sin, but because pope and
council had decided against it, and it was his duty to maintain their

This was a new position for Anselm to take; it was also raising a new
question in the government of England. For more than a quarter of a
century the papacy had been fighting this battle against lay investiture
with all the weapons at its disposal, against its nearest rival, the
emperor, and with less of open conflict and more of immediate success in
most of the other lands of Europe. But in the dominions of the Norman
princes the question had never become a living issue. This was not
because the papacy had failed to demand the authority there which it was
striving to secure elsewhere. Gregory VII had laid claim to an even more
complete authority over England than this. But these demands had met with
no success. Even as regards the more subordinate features of the
Hildebrandine reformation, simony and the celibacy of the clergy, the
response of the Norman and English churches to the demand for
reformation had been incomplete and half-hearted, and not even the
beginning of a papal party had shown itself in either country. This
exceptional position is to be accounted for by the great strength of the
crown, and also by the fact that the sovereign in his dealings with the
Church was following in both states the policy marked out by a long
tradition. Something must also be attributed, and probably in Normandy as
well as in England, to the clearness with which Lanfranc perceived the
double position of the bishop in the feudal state. The Church was an
important part of the machinery of government, and as such its officers
were appointed by the king, and held accountable to him for a large part
at least of their official action. This was the theory of the Norman
state, and this theory had been up to this time unquestioned. It is
hardly too much to call the Norman and English churches, from the
coronation of William I on to this time, practically independent national
churches, with some relationship to the pope, but with one so external in
its character that no serious inconvenience would have been experienced
in their own government had some sudden catastrophe swept the papacy out
of existence.

It was, however, in truth impossible for England to keep itself free from
the issue which had been raised by the war upon lay investiture. The real
question involved in this controversy was one far deeper than the
question of the appointment of bishops by the sovereign of the state.
That was a point of detail, a means to the end; very important and
essential as a means, but not the end itself. Slowly through centuries of
time the Church had become conscious of itself. Accumulated precedents of
the successful exercise of power, observation of the might of
organization, and equally instructive experience of the weakness of
disorganization and of the danger of self-seeking, personal or political,
in the head of the Christian world, had brought the thinking party in the
Church to understand the dominant position which it might hold in the
world if it could be controlled as a single organization and animated by
a single purpose. It was the vision of the imperial Church, free from all
distracting influence of family or of state, closely bound together into
one organic whole, an independent, world-embracing power: more than this
even, a power above all other powers, the representative of God, on
earth, to which all temporal sovereigns should be held accountable.

That the Church failed to gain the whole of that for which it strove was
not the fault of its leaders. A large part of the history of the world in
the eleventh and twelfth centuries is filled with the struggle to create,
in ideal completeness, this imperial Church. The reformation of Cluny had
this for its ultimate object. From the beginning made by that movement,
the political genius of Hildebrand sketched the finished structure and
pointed out the means to be employed in its completion. That the emperor
was first and most fiercely attacked was not due to the fact that he was
a sinner above all others in the matter of lay investiture or simony. It
was the most urgent necessity of the case that the papacy should make
itself independent of that power which in the past had exercised the most
direct sovereignty over the popes, and before the conflict should end be
able to take its seat beside the empire as an equal, or even a superior,
world power. But if the empire must be first overcome, no state could be
left out of this plan, and in England as elsewhere the issue must sooner
or later be joined.

It must not be understood that mere ambition was at the bottom of this
effort of the Church. Of ambition in the ordinary sense it is more than
probable that no leader of this movement was conscious. The cause of the
Church was the cause of God and of righteousness. The spiritual power
ought justly to be superior to the temporal, because the spiritual
interests of men so far outweigh their temporal. If the spiritual power
is supreme, and holds in check the temporal, and calls the sovereign to
account for his wrong-doing, the way of salvation will be easier for all
men, and the cause of righteousness promoted. If this kind of a Church is
to be organized, and this power established in the world, it is essential
that so important an officer in the system as the bishop should be chosen
by the Church alone, and with reference alone to the spiritual interests
which he is to guard, and the spiritual duties he must perform. Selection
by the state, accountability to the state, would make too serious a flaw
in the practical operation of this system to be permitted. The argument
of the Church against the practice of lay investiture was entirely sound.

On the other hand, the argument of the feudal state was not less sound.
It is difficult for us to get a clear mental picture of the organization
of the feudal state, because the institutions of that state have left few
traces in modern forms of government. The complete transformation of the
feudal baronage into a modern nobility, and the rise on the ruins of the
feudal state of clearly defined, legislative, judicial, and
administrative systems have obscured the line of direct descent. But the
feudal baron was very different from a modern noble, and there was no
bureaucracy and no civil service in the feudal state beyond their mere
beginnings in the personal servants of the king. No function of
government was the professional business of any one, but legislative,
judicial, administrative, financial, and military operations were all
incidental to something else. This may not seem true of the sheriff; but
that he had escaped transformation, after the feudalization of England,
into something more than an administrative officer makes the Norman state
somewhat exceptional at that time, and the history of this office, even
under the most powerful of kings, shows the strength of the tendency
toward development in the direction of a private possession. Even while
remaining administrative, the office was known to the Normans by a name
which to some extent in their own home, and generally elsewhere, had come
to be an hereditary feudal title,--the viscount. In this system of
government, the baron was the most essential feature. Every kind of
government business was performed in the main through him, and as
incidental to his position as a baron. The assembly of the barons, the
curia regis, whether the great assembly of all the barons of the
kingdom, meeting on occasions by special summons, or the smaller assembly
in constant attendance on the king, was the primitive and
undifferentiated machine by which government was carried on. If the
baronage was faithful to the crown, or if the crown held the baronage
under a strong control, the realm enjoyed good government and the nation
bore with comparatively little suffering the burdens which were always
heavy. If the baronage was out of control, government fell to pieces, and
anarchy and oppression took its place.

In this feudal state, however, a bishop was a baron. The lands which
formed the endowment of his office--and in those days endowment could
take no other form--constituted a barony. The necessity of a large income
and the generosity of the faithful made of his endowment a great fief. It
is important to realize how impossible any other conception than this was
to the political half of the world. In public position, influence upon
affairs, wealth, and popular estimation, the bishop stood in the same
class with the baron. The manors which were set aside from the general
property of the Church to furnish his official income would, in many
cases, provide for an earldom. In fitness to perform the manifold
functions of government which fell to him, the bishop far exceeded the
ordinary baron. The state could not regard him as other than a baron; it
certainly could not dispense with his assistance. It was a matter of
vital importance to the king to be able to determine what kind of men
should hold these great fiefs and occupy these influential positions in
the state, and to be able to hold them to strict accountability. The
argument of the state in favour of lay investiture was as sound as the
argument of the Church against it.

Here was a conflict of interests in which no real compromise was
possible. Incidental features of the conflict might be found upon which
the form of a compromise could be arranged. But upon the one essential
point, the right of selecting the man, one or the other of the parties
whose interests were involved must give way. It is not strange that in
the main, except where the temporary or permanent weakness of the
sovereign made an exception, that interest which seemed to the general
run of men of most immediate and pressing importance gained the day, and
the spiritual gave way to the temporal. But in England the conflict was
now first begun, and the time of compromise had not yet come. Henry's
proposal to Anselm of delay and of a new appeal to the pope was chiefly a
move to gain time until the situation of affairs in England should turn
more decidedly in his favour. He especially feared, Eadmer tells us, lest
Anselm should seek out his brother Robert and persuade him--as he easily
could--to admit the papal claims, and then make him king of England.

Robert had returned to Normandy from the Holy Land before the arrival of
Anselm in England. He had won much glory on the crusade, and in the rush
of events and in the constant fighting, where responsibility for the
management of affairs did not rest upon him alone, he had shown himself a
man of energy and power. But he came back unchanged in character. Even
during the crusade he had relapsed at times into his more indolent and
careless mood, from which he had been roused with difficulty. In southern
Italy, where he had stopped among the Normans on his return, he had
married Sibyl, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversana, a nephew of Robert
Guiscard, but the dowry which he received with her had rapidly melted
away in his hands. He was, however, now under no obligation to redeem
Normandy. The loan for which he had pledged the duchy was regarded as a
personal debt to William Rufus, not a debt to the English crown, and
Henry laid no claim to it. Robert took possession of Normandy without
opposition from any quarter. It is probable that if Robert had been left
to himself, he would have been satisfied with Normandy, and that his
easy-going disposition would have led him to leave Henry in undisturbed
possession of England. But he was not left to himself. The events which
had occurred soon after the accession of William Rufus repeated
themselves soon after Henry's. No Norman baron could expect to gain any
more of the freedom which he desired under Henry than he had had under
William. The two states would also be separated once more if Henry
remained king of England. Almost all the Normans accordingly applied to
Robert, as they had done before, and offered to support a new attempt to
gain the crown. Robert was also urged forward by the advice of Ranulf
Flambard, who escaped from the Tower in February, 1101, and found a
refuge and new influence in Normandy. Natural ambition was not wanting to
Robert, and in the summer of 1101 he collected his forces for an invasion
of England.

Though the great Norman barons stood aloof from him--Robert of Belleme
and his two brothers Roger and Arnulf, William of Warenne, Walter
Giffard, and Ivo of Grantmesnil, with others--Henry was stronger in
England than Robert. No word had yet been received from Rome in answer to
the application which he had made to the pope on the subject of the
investiture; and in this crisis the king was liberal with promises to the
archbishop, and Anselm was strongly on his side with the Church as a
whole. His faithful friends, Robert, Count of Meulan, and his brother
Henry, Earl of Warwick, were among the few whom he could trust. But his
most important support he found, as his brother William had found it in
similar circumstances, in the mass of the nation which would now be even
more ready to take the side of the king against the Norman party.

Henry expected the invaders to land at Pevensey, but apparently, with the
help of some part of the sailors who had been sent against him, Robert
landed without opposition at Portsmouth, towards the end of July, 1101.
Thence he advanced towards London, and Henry went to meet him. The two
armies came together near Alton, but no battle was fought. In a conflict
of diplomacy, Henry was pretty sure of victory, and to this he preferred
to trust. A meeting of the brothers was arranged, and as a result Robert
surrendered all the real advantages which he had crossed the channel to
win, and received in place of them gains which might seem attractive to
him, but which must have seemed to Henry, when taken all together, a
cheap purchase of the crown. Robert gave up his claim to the throne and
released Henry, as being a king, from the homage by which he had formerly
been bound. Henry on his side promised his brother an annual payment of
three thousand marks sterling, and gave up to him all that he possessed
in Normandy, except the town of Domfront, which he had expressly promised
not to abandon. It was also agreed, as formerly between Robert and
William Rufus, that the survivor should inherit the dominions of the
other if he died without heirs. A further provision concerned the
adherents of each of the brothers during this strife. Possessions in
England of barons of Normandy, which had been seized by Henry because of
their fidelity to Robert, should be restored, and also the Norman estates
of English barons seized by Robert, but each should be free to deal with
the barons of his own land who had proved unfaithful. This stipulation
would be of especial value to Henry, who had probably not found it
prudent to deal with the traitors of his land before the decision of the
contest; but some counter-intrigues in Normandy in favour of Henry were
probably not unknown to Robert.

Robert sent home at once a part of his army, but he himself remained in
England long enough to witness in some cases the execution by his brother
of the provision of the treaty concerning traitors. He took with him, on
his return to Normandy, Orderic Vitalis says, William of Warenne and many
others disinherited for his sake. Upon others the king took vengeance one
at a time, on one pretext or another, and these included at least Robert
of Lacy, Robert Malet, and Ivo of Grantmesnil. The possessions of Ivo in
Leicestershire passed into the hands of the faithful Robert, Count of
Meulan--faithful to Henry if not to the rebel who sought his help--and
somewhat later became the foundation of the earldom of Leicester.

Against the most powerful and most dangerous of the traitors, Robert of
Belleme, Henry felt strong enough to take steps in the spring of 1102. In
a court in that year Henry brought accusation against Robert on
forty-five counts, of things done or said against himself or against his
brother Robert. The evidence to justify these accusations Henry had been
carefully and secretly collecting for a year. When Robert heard this
indictment, he knew that his turn had come, and that no legal defence was
possible, and he took advantage of a technical plea to make his escape.
He asked leave to retire from the court and take counsel with his men. As
this was a regular custom leave was granted, but Robert took horse at
once and fled from the court. Summoned again to court, Robert refused to
come, and began to fortify his castles. Henry on his side collected an
army, and laid siege first of all to the castle of Arundel. The record of
the siege gives us an incident characteristic of the times. Robert's men,
finding that they could not defend the place, asked for a truce that they
might send to their lord and obtain leave to surrender. The request was
granted, the messengers were sent, and Robert with grief "absolved them
from their promised faith and granted them leave to make concord with the
king." Henry then turned against Robert's castles in the north. Against
Blyth he marched himself, but on his approach he was met by the townsmen
who received him as their "natural lord." To the Bishop of Lincoln he
gave orders to besiege Tickhill castle, while he advanced towards the
west, where lay Robert's chief possessions and greatest strength.

In his Shrewsbury earldom Robert had been preparing himself for the final
struggle with the king ever since he had escaped his trial in the court.
He counted upon the help of his two brothers, whose possessions were also
in those parts, Arnulf of Pembroke, and Roger called the Poitevin, who
had possession of Lancaster. The Welsh princes also stood ready, as their
countrymen stood for centuries afterwards, to combine with any party of
rebellious barons in England, and their assistance proved of as little
real value then as later. With these allies and the help of Arnulf he
laid waste a part of Staffordshire before Henry's arrival, the Welsh
carrying off their plunder, including some prisoners. Robert's chief
dependence, however, must have been upon his two very strong castles of
Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury, both of which had been strengthened and
provisioned with care for a stubborn resistance.

Henry's first attack with what seems to have been a large force was on
Bridgenorth castle. Robert had himself chosen to await the king's attack
in Shrewsbury, and had left three of his vassals in charge of
Bridgenorth, with a body of mercenaries, who often proved,
notwithstanding the oaths of vassals, the most faithful troops of feudal
days. He had hoped that his Welsh friends would be able to interfere
seriously with Henry's siege operations, but in this he was disappointed.
The king's offers proved larger than his, at least to one of the princes,
and no help came from that quarter. One striking incident of this siege,
though recorded by Orderic Vitalis only, is so characteristic of the
situation in England, at least of that which had just preceded the
rebellion of Robert, and bears so great an appearance of truth, that it
deserves notice. The barons of England who were with the king began to
fear that if he were allowed to drive so powerful an earl as Robert of
Belleme to his ruin the rest of their order would be henceforth at his
mercy, and no more than weak "maid-servants" in his sight. Accordingly,
after consulting among themselves, they made a formal attempt to induce
the king to grant terms to Robert. In the midst of an argument which the
king seems to have been obliged to treat with consideration, the shouts
of 3000 country soldiers stationed on a hill near by made themselves
heard, warning Henry not to trust to "these traitors," and promising him
their faithful assistance. Encouraged by this support, the king rejected
the advice of the barons.

The siege of Bridgenorth lasted three weeks. At the end of that time,
Henry threatened to hang all whom he should capture, unless the castle
were surrendered in three days; and despite the resistance of Robert's
mercenaries, the terms he offered were accepted. Henry immediately sent
out his forces to clear the difficult way to Shrewsbury, where Robert,
having learned of the fall of Bridgenorth, was awaiting the issue,
uncertain what to do. One attempt he made to obtain for himself
conditions of submission, but met with a flat refusal. Unconditional
surrender was all that Henry would listen to. Finally, as the king
approached, he went out to meet him, confessed himself a traitor and
beaten, and gave up the keys of the town. Henry used his victory to the
uttermost. Personal safety was granted to the earl, and he was allowed to
depart to his Norman possessions with horses and arms, but this was all
that was allowed him. His vast possessions in England were wholly
confiscated; not a manor was left him. His brothers soon afterwards fell
under the same fate, and the most powerful and most dangerous Norman
house in England was utterly ruined. For the king this result was not
merely the fall of an enemy who might well be feared, and the acquisition
of great estates with which to reward his friends; it was a lesson of the
greatest value to the Norman baronage. Orderic Vitalis, who gives us the
fullest details of these events states this result in words which cannot
be improved upon: "And so, after Robert's flight, the kingdom of Albion
was quiet in peace, and King Henry reigned prosperously three and thirty
years, during which no man in England dared to rebel or to hold any
castle against him."

From these and other forfeitures Henry endowed a new nobility, men of
minor families, or of those that had hitherto played no part in the
history of the land. Many of them were men who had had their training and
attracted the king's attention in the administrative system which he did
so much to develop, and their promotion was the reward of faithful
service. These "new men" were settled in some numbers in the north, and
scholars have thought they could trace the influence of their
administrative training and of their attitude towards the older and more
purely feudal nobility in the events of a century later in the struggle
for the Great Charter.

These events, growing directly out of Robert's attempt upon England, have
carried us to the autumn of 1102; but in the meantime the equally
important conflict with Anselm on the subject of investitures had been
advanced some stages further. The answer of Pope Paschal II to the
request which had been made of him, to suspend in favour of England the
law of the Church against lay investitures, had been received at least
soon after the treaty with Robert. The answer was a flat refusal, written
with priestly subtlety, arguing throughout as if what Henry had demanded
was the spiritual consecration of the bishops, though it must be admitted
that in the eyes of men who saw only the side of the Church the
difference could not have been great. So far as we know, Henry said
nothing of this answer. He summoned Anselm to court, apparently while his
brother was still in England, and peremptorily demanded of him that he
should become his man and consecrate the bishops and abbots whom he had
appointed, as his predecessors had done, or else immediately leave the
country. It is uncertain whether the influence of Robert had anything to
do with this demand, as Eadmer supposed, but the recent victory which the
king had gained, and the greater security which he must have felt,
doubtless affected its peremptory character. Anselm again based his
refusal of homage on his former position, on the doctrine which he had
learned at Rome. Of this Henry would hear nothing; he insisted upon the
customary rights of English kings. The other alternative, however, which
he offered the archbishop, or with which he threatened him, of departure
from England, Anselm also declined to accept, and he returned to
Canterbury to carry on his work quietly and to await the issue.

This act of Anselm's was a virtual challenge to the king to use violence
against him if he dared, and such a challenge Henry was as yet in no
condition to take up. Not long after his return to Canterbury, Anselm
received a friendly letter from the king, inviting him to come to
Westminster, to consider the business anew. Here, with the consent of the
assembled court, a new truce was arranged, and a new embassy to Rome
determined on. This was to be sent by both parties and to consist of
ecclesiastics of higher rank than those of the former embassy, who were
to explain clearly to the pope the situation in England, and to convince
him that some modification of the decrees on the subject would be
necessary if he wished to retain the country in his obedience. Anselm's
representatives were two monks, Baldwin of Bee and Alexander of
Canterbury; the king's were three bishops, Gerard of Hereford, lately
made Archbishop of York by the king, Herbert of Norwich, and Robert of

The embassy reached Rome; the case was argued before the pope; he
indignantly refused to modify the decrees; and the ambassadors returned
to England, bringing letters to this effect to the king and to the
archbishop. Soon after their return, which was probably towards the end
of the summer, 1102, Anselm was summoned to a meeting of the court at
London, and again required to perform homage or to cease to exercise his
office. He of course continued to refuse, and appealed to the pope's
letters for justification. Henry declined to make known the letter he had
received, and declared that he would not be bound by them. His position
was supported by the three bishops whom he had sent to Rome, who on the
reading of the letter to Anselm declared that privately the pope had
informed them that so long as the king appointed suitable men he would
not be interfered with, and they explained that this could not be stated
in the letters lest the news should be carried to other princes and lead
them to usurp the rights of the Church. Anselm's representatives
protested that they had heard nothing of all this, but it is evident that
the solemn assertion of the three bishops had considerable weight, and
that even Anselm was not sure but that they were telling the truth.

On a renewed demand of homage by the king, supported by the bishops and
barons of the kingdom, Anselm answered that if the letters had
corresponded to the words of the bishops, very likely he would have done
what was demanded as the case stood, he proposed a new embassy to Rome to
reconcile the contradiction, and in the meantime, though he would not
consecrate the king's nominees, he agreed not to regard them as
excommunicate. This proposal was at once accepted by Henry, who regarded
it as so nearly an admission of his claim that he immediately appointed
two new bishops: his chancellor, Roger, to Salisbury, and his larderer,
also Roger, to Hereford.

Perhaps in the same spirit, regarding the main point as settled, Henry
now allowed Anselm to hold the council of the English Church which
William Rufus had so long refused him. The council met at Westminster and
adopted a series of canons, whose chief object was the complete carrying
out of the Gregorian reformation in the English Church. The most
important of them concerned the celibacy of the priesthood, and enacted
the strictest demands of the reform party, without regard to existing
conditions. No clerics of any grade from subdeacon upward, were to be
allowed to marry, nor might holy orders be received hereafter without a
previous vow of celibacy. Those already married must put away their
wives, and if any neglected to do so, they were no longer to be
considered legal priests, nor be allowed to celebrate mass. One canon,
which reveals one of the dangers against which the Church sought to guard
by these regulations, forbade the sons of priests to inherit their
father's benefices. It is very evident from these canons, that this part
of the new reformation had made but little, if any, more headway in
England than that which concerned investiture, and we know from other
sources that the marriage of secular clergy was almost the rule, and that
the sons of priests in clerical office were very numerous. Less is said
of the other article of the reform programme, the extinction of the sin
of simony, but three abbots of important monasteries, recently appointed
by the king, were deposed on this ground without objection. This
legislation, so thorough-going and so regardless of circumstances, is an
interesting illustration of the uncompromising character of Anselm,
though it must be noticed that later experience raised the question in
his mind whether some modifications of these canons ought not to be made.

That Henry on his side had no intention of surrendering anything of his
rights in the matter of investiture is clearly shown, about the same
time, by his effort to get the bishops whom he had appointed to accept
consecration from his very useful and willing minister, Gerard,
Archbishop of York. Roger the larderer, appointed to Hereford, had died
without consecration, and in his place Reinelm, the queen's chancellor,
had been appointed. When the question of consecration by York was raised,
rather than accept it he voluntarily surrendered his bishopric to the
king. The other two persons appointed, William Giffard of Winchester, and
Roger of Salisbury, seemed willing to concede the point, but at the last
moment William drew back and the plan came to nothing. The bishops,
however, seem to have refused consecration from the Archbishop of York
less from objection to royal investiture than out of regard to the claims
of Canterbury. William Giffard was deprived of his see, it would seem by
judicial sentence, and sent from the kingdom.

About the middle of Lent of the next year, 1103, Henry made a new attempt
to obtain his demands of Anselm. On his way to Dover he stopped three
days in Canterbury and required the archbishop to submit. What followed
is a repetition of what had occurred so often before. Anselm offered to
be guided by the letters from Rome, in answer to the last reference
thither, which had been received but not yet read. This Henry refused. He
said he had nothing to do with the pope. He demanded the rights of his
predecessors. Anselm on his side declared that he could consent to a
modification of the papal decrees only by the authority which had made
them. It would seem as if no device remained to be tried to postpone a
complete breach between the two almost co-equal powers of the medieval
state; but Henry's patience was not yet exhausted, or his practical
wisdom led him to wish to get Anselm out of the kingdom before the breach
became complete. He begged Anselm to go himself to Rome and attempt what
others had failed to effect. Anselm suspected the king's object in the
proposal, and asked for a delay until Easter, that he might take the
advice of the king's court. This was unanimous in favour of the attempt,
and on April 27, 1103, he landed at Wissant, not an exile, but with his
attendants, "invested with the king's peace."

Four years longer this conflict lasted before it was finally settled by
the concordat of August, 1107; but these later stages of it, though not
less important considered in themselves, were less the pressing question
of the moment for Henry than the earlier had been. They were rather
incidents affecting his gradually unfolding foreign policy, and in turn
greatly affected by it. From the fall of Robert of Belleme to the end of
Henry's reign, the domestic history of England is almost a blank. If we
put aside two series of events, the ecclesiastical politics of the time,
of which interested clerks have given us full details, and the changes in
institutions which were going on, but which they did not think posterity
would be so anxious to understand, we know of little to say of this long
period in the life of the English people. The history which has survived
is the history of the king, and the king was in the main occupied upon
the continent. But in the case of Henry I, this is not improperly English
history. It was upon no career of foreign conquest, no seeking after
personal glory, that Henry embarked in his Norman expeditions. It was to
protect the rights of his subjects in England that he began, and it was
because he could accomplish this in no other way that he ended with the
conquest of the duchy and the lifelong imprisonment of his brother. There
were so many close bonds of connexion between the two states that England
suffered keenly in the disorders of Normandy, and the turbulence and
disobedience of the barons under Robert threatened the stability of
Henry's rule at home.

[16] Ordetic Vitalis, iv. 87 f.

[17] Liebermami, Anselm und Hugo van Lyon, in Aufsaetze dem
Andenken an Georg Waitz gewidmet.



Robert of Belleme had lost too much in England to rest satisfied with the
position into which he had been forced. He was of too stormy a
disposition himself to settle down to a quiet life on his Norman lands.
Duke Robert had attacked one of his castles, while Henry was making war
upon him in England, but, as was usual in his case, totally failed; but
it was easy to take vengeance upon the duke, and he was the first to
suffer for the misfortunes of the lord of Belleme. All that part of
Normandy within reach of Robert was laid waste; churches and monasteries
even, in which men had taken refuge, were burned with the fugitives.
Almost all Normandy joined in planning resistance. The historian,
Orderic, living in the duchy, speaks almost as if general government had
disappeared, and the country were a confederation of local states. But
all plans were in vain, because a "sane head" was lacking. Duke Robert
was totally defeated, and obliged to make important concessions to Robert
of Belleme. At last Henry, moved by the complaints which continued to
come to him from churchmen and barons of Normandy, some of whom came over
to England in person, as well as from his own subjects, whose Norman
lands could not be protected, resolved himself to cross to Normandy. This
he did in the autumn of 1104, and visited Domfront and other towns which
belonged to him. There he was joined by almost all the leading barons of
Normandy, who were, indeed, his vassals in England, but who meant more
than this by coming to him at this time.

The expedition, however, was not an invasion. Henry did not intend to
make war upon his brother or upon Robert of Belleme. It was his intention
rather to serve notice on all parties that he was deeply interested in
the affairs of Normandy and that anarchy must end. To his brother Robert
he read a long lecture, filled with many counts of his misconduct, both
to himself personally and in the government of the duchy. Robert feared
worse things than this, and that he might turn away his brother's wrath,
ceded to him the county of Evreux, with the homage of its count, William,
one of the most important possessions and barons of the duchy. Already in
the year before Robert had been forced to surrender the pension Henry had
promised him in the treaty which they had made after Robert's invasion.
This was because of a rash visit he had paid to England without
permission, at the request of William of Warenne, to intercede for the
restoration of his earldom of Surrey. By these arrangements Robert was
left almost without the means of living, but he was satisfied to escape
so easily, for he feared above all to be deprived of the name of duke and
the semblance of power. Before winter came on the king returned to

In this same year, following out what seems to have been the deliberate
purpose of Henry to crush the great Norman houses, another of the most
powerful barons of England was sent over to Normandy, to furnish in the
end a strong reinforcement to Robert of Belleme, a man of the same stamp
as himself, namely William of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, the king's own
cousin. At the time of Henry's earliest troubles with his brother Robert,
William had demanded the inheritance of their uncle Odo, the earldom of
Kent. The king had delayed his answer until the danger was over, had then
refused the request, and shortly after had begun to attack the earl by
suits at law. This drove him to Normandy and into the party of the king's
open enemies. On Henry's departure, Robert with the help of William began
again his ravaging of the land of his enemies, with all the former
horrors of fire and slaughter. The peasants suffered with the rest, and
many of them fled the country with their wives and children.

If order was to be restored in Normandy and property again to become
secure, it was clear that more thorough-going measures than those of
Henry's first expedition must be adopted. These he was now determined to
take, and in the last week of Lent, 1105, he landed at Barfleur, and
within a few days stormed and destroyed Bayeux, which had refused to
surrender, and forced Caen to open its gates. Though this formed the
extent of his military operations in this campaign, a much larger portion
of Normandy virtually became subject to him through the voluntary action
of the barons. And in a quite different way his visit to Normandy was of
decisive influence in the history of Henry and of England. As the
necessity of taking complete possession of the duchy, in order to secure
peace, became clear to Henry, or perhaps we should say as the vision of
Normandy entirely occupied and subject to his rule rose before his mind,
the conflict with Anselm in which he was involved began to assume a new
aspect. As an incident in the government of a kingdom of which he was
completely master, it was one thing; as having a possible bearing on the
success with which he could conquer and incorporate with his dominions
another state, it was quite another.

Anselm had gone to Rome toward the end of the summer of 1103. There he
had found everything as he had anticipated. The argument of Henry's
representative that England would be lost to the papacy if this
concession were not granted, was of no avail. The pope stood firmly by
the decrees against investiture. But Henry's ambassador was charged with
a mission to Anselm, as well as to the pope; and at Lyons, on the journey
back, the archbishop was told that his return to England would be very
welcome to the king when he was ready to perform all duties to the king
as other archbishops of Canterbury had done them. The meaning of this
message was clear. By this stroke of policy, Henry had exiled Anselm,
with none of the excitement or outcry which would have been occasioned by
his violent expulsion from the kingdom.

On the return of his embassy from Rome, probably in December, 1103, Henry
completed the legal breach between himself and Anselm by seizing the
revenues of the archbishopric into his own hands. This, from his
interpretation of the facts, he had a perfect right to do, but there is
very good ground to suppose that he might not have done it even now, if
his object had been merely to punish a vassal who refused to perform his
customary services. Henry was already looking forward to intervention in
Normandy. His first expedition was not made until the next summer, but it
must by this time have been foreseen, and the cost must have been
counted. The revenues of Canterbury doubtless seemed quite worth having.
Already, in 1104, we begin to get complaints of the heavy taxation from
which England was suffering. In the year of the second expedition, 1105,
these were still more frequent and piteous. Ecclesiastics and Church
lands bore these burdens with the rest of the kingdom, and before the
close of this year we are told that many of the evils which had existed
under William Rufus had reappeared.[18]

True to his temporizing policy, when complaints became loud, as early as
1104, Henry professed his great desire for the return of Anselm, provided
always he was willing to observe the customs of the kingdom, and he
despatched another embassy to Rome to persuade the pope to some
concession. This was the fifth embassy which he had sent with this
request, and he could not possibly have expected any other answer than
that which he had already received. Soon a party began to form among the
higher clergy of England, primarily in opposition to the king, and, more
for this reason probably than from devotion to the reformation, in
support of Anselm, though it soon began to show a disposition to adopt
the Gregorian ideas for which Anselm stood. This disposition was less
due to any change of heart on their part than to the knowledge which they
had acquired of their helplessness in the hands of an absolute king, and
of the great advantage to be gained from the independence which the
Gregorian reformation would secure them. Even Gerard of York early
showed some tendency to draw toward Anselm, as may be seen from a letter
which he despatched to him in the early summer of 1105, with some
precautions, suppressing names and expressions by which the writer might
be identified.[19] Toward the end of the year he joined with five other
bishops, including William Giffard, appointed by Henry to Winchester, in
a more open appeal to Anselm, with promise of support. How early Henry
became aware of this movement of opposition is not certain, but we may be
sure that his department of secret service was well organized. We shall
not be far wrong if we assign to a knowledge of the attitude of powerful
churchmen in England some weight among the complex influences which led
the king to the step which he took in July of this year.

In March, 1105, Pope Paschal II, whose conduct throughout this
controversy implies that he was not more anxious to drive matters to open
warfare than was Henry, advanced so far as to proclaim the
excommunication of the Count of Meulan and the other counsellors of the
king, and also of those who had received investiture at his hand. This
might look as if the pope were about to take up the case in earnest and
would proceed shortly to excommunicate the king himself. But Anselm
evidently interpreted it as the utmost which he could expect in the way
of aid from Rome, and immediately determined to act for himself. He left
Lyons to go to Reims, but learning on the way of the illness of the
Countess of Blois, Henry's sister Adela, he went to Blois instead, and
then with the countess, who had recovered, to Chartres. This brought
together three persons deeply interested in this conflict and of much
influence in England and with the king Anselm, who was directly
concerned; the Countess Adela, a favourite with her brother and on
intimate terms with him and Bishop Ivo of Chartres, who had written much
and wisely on the investiture controversy. And here it seems likely were
suggested, probably by Bishop Ivo, and talked over among the three, the
terms of the famous compromise by which the conflict was at last ended.

Anselm had made no secret of his intention of proceeding shortly to the
excommunication of Henry. The prospect excited the liveliest apprehension
in the mind of the religiously disposed Countess Adela, and she bestirred
herself to find some means of averting so dread a fate from her brother.
Henry himself had heard of the probability with some apprehension, though
of a different sort from his sister's. The respect which Anselm enjoyed
throughout Normandy and northern France was so great that, as Henry
looked forward to an early conquest of the duchy, he could not afford to
disregard the effect upon the general feeling of an open declaration of
war by the archbishop. The invitation of the king of France to Anselm, to
accept an asylum within his borders, was a plain foreshadowing of what
might follow.[20] Considerations of home and foreign politics alike
disposed Henry to meet halfway the advances which the other side was
willing to make under the lead of his sister.

With the countess, Anselm entered Normandy and met Henry at Laigle on
July 21, 1105. Here the terms of the compromise, which were more than two
years later adopted as binding law, were agreed upon between themselves,
in their private capacity. Neither was willing at the moment to be
officially bound. Anselm, while personally willing, would not formally
agree to the concessions expected of him, until he had the authority of
the pope to do so. Subsequent events lead us to suspect that once more
Henry was temporizing. Anselm was not in good health. He was shortly
after seriously ill. It is in harmony with Henry's policy throughout, and
with his action in the following months, to suppose that he believed the
approaching death of the archbishop would relieve him from even the
slight concessions to which he professed himself willing to agree. It is
not the place here to state the terms and effect of this agreement, but
in substance Henry consented to abandon investiture with the ring and
staff, symbols of the spiritual office; and Anselm agreed that the
officers of the Church should not be excommunicated nor denied
consecration if they received investiture of their actual fiefs from the
hand of the king. Henry promised that an embassy should be at once
despatched to Rome, to obtain the pope's consent to this arrangement, in
order that Anselm, to whom the temporalities of his see were now
restored, might be present at his Christmas court in England.

Delay Henry certainly gained by this move. The forms of friendly
intercourse were restored between himself and Anselm. The excommunication
was not pronounced. The party of the king's open enemies in Normandy, or
of those who would have been glad to be his open enemies in France, if
circumstances had been favourable, was deprived of support from any
popular feeling of horror against an outcast of the Church. But he made
no change in his conduct or plans. By the end of summer he was back in
England, leaving things well under way in Normandy. Severer exactions
followed in England, to raise money for new campaigns. One invention of
some skilful servant of the king's seemed to the ecclesiastical
historians more intolerable and dangerous than anything before. The
king's justices began to draw the married clergy before the secular
courts, and to fine them for their violation of the canons. By
implication this would mean a legal toleration of the marriage, on
payment of fines to the king, and thus it would cut into the rights of
the Church in two directions. It was the trial of a spiritual offence in
a secular court, and it was the virtual suspension of the law of the
Church by the authority of the State. Still no embassy went to Rome.
Christmas came and it had not gone. Robert of Belleme, alarmed at the
plans of Henry, which were becoming evident, came over from Normandy to
try to make some peaceable arrangement with the king, but was refused all
terms. In January, 1106, Robert of Normandy himself came over, to get, if
possible, the return of what he had lost at home; but he also could
obtain nothing. All things were in Henry's hands. He could afford to
refuse favours, to forget his engagements, and to encourage his servants
in the invention of ingenious exactions.

But Anselm was growing impatient. New appeals to action were constantly
reaching him from England. The letter of the six bishops was sent toward
the close of 1105. He himself began again to hint at extreme measures,
and to write menacing letters to the king's ministers. Finally, early in
1106, the embassy was actually sent to Rome. Towards the end of March the
Roman curia took action on the proposal, and Anselm was informed, in a
letter from the pope, that the required concessions would be allowed. The
pope was disposed to give thanks that God had inclined the king's heart
to obedience; yet the proposal was approved of, not as an accepted
principle, but rather as a temporary expedient, until the king should be
converted by the preaching of the archbishop, to respect the rights of
the Church in full. But Anselm did not yet return to England. Before the
envoys came back from Rome, Henry had written to him of his expectation
of early crossing into Normandy. On learning that the compromise would be
accepted by the pope, Henry had sent to invite him at once to England,
but Anselm was then too ill to travel, and he continued so for some time.
It was nearly August before Henry's third expedition actually landed in
Normandy, and on the 15th of that month the king and the archbishop met
at the Abbey of Bee, and the full reconciliation between them took place.
Anselm could now agree to the compromise. Henry promised to make
reformation in the particulars of his recent treatment of the Church, of
which the archbishop complained. Then Anselm crossed to Dover, and was
received with great rejoicing.

The campaign upon which Henry embarked in August ended by the close of
September in a success greater than he could have anticipated. He first
attacked the castle of Tinchebrai, belonging to William of Mortain, and
left a fortified post there to hold it in check. As soon as the king had
retired, William came to the relief of his castle, reprovisioned it, and
shut up the king's men in their defences. Then Henry advanced in turn
with his own forces and his allies, and began a regular siege of the
castle. The next move was William's, and he summoned to his aid Duke
Robert and Robert of Belleme, and all the friends they had left in
Normandy. The whole of the opposing forces were thus face to face, and
the fate of Normandy likely to be settled by a single conflict. Orderic,
the historian of the war, notes that Henry preferred to fight rather than
to withdraw, as commanded by his brother, being willing to enter upon
this "more than civil war for the sake of future peace."

In the meantime, the men of religion who were present began to exert
themselves to prevent so fratricidal a collision of these armies, between
whose opposing ranks so many families were divided. Henry yielded to
their wishes, and offered to his brother terms of reconciliation which
reveal not merely his belief in the strength of his position in the
country and his confidence of success, but something also of his general
motive. The ardour of religious zeal which the historian makes Henry
profess we may perhaps set aside, but the actual terms offered speak for
themselves. Robert was to surrender to Henry all the castles and the
jurisdiction and administration of the whole duchy. This being done,
Henry would turn over to him, without any exertion on his part, the
revenues of half the duchy to enjoy freely in the kind of life that best
pleased him. If Robert had been a different sort of man, we should
commend his rejection of these terms. Possibly he recalled Henry's
earlier promise of a pension, and had little confidence in the certainty
of revenues from this source. But Henry, knowing the men whose advice
Robert would ask before answering, had probably not expected his terms to
be accepted.

The battle was fought on September 28, and it was fiercely fought, the
hardest fight and with the largest forces of any in which Normans or
Englishmen had been engaged for forty years. The main body of both armies
fought on foot. The Count of Mortain, in command of Robert's first
division, charged Henry's front, but was met with a resistance which he
could not overcome. In the midst of this struggle Robert's flank was
charged by Henry's mounted allies, under Count Elias of Maine, and his
position was cut in two. Robert of Belleme, who commanded the rear
division, seeing the battle going against the duke, took to flight and
left the rest of the army to its fate. This was apparently to surrender
in a body. Henry reports the number of common soldiers whom he had taken
as ten thousand, too large a figure, no doubt, but implying the capture
of Robert's whole force. His prisoners of name comprised all the leaders
of his brother's side except Robert of Belleme, including the duke
himself, Edgar the English atheling, who was soon released, and William
of Mortain. The victory at once made Henry master of Normandy. There
could be no further question of this, and it is of interest to note that
the historian, William of Malmesbury, who in his own person typifies the
union of English and Norman, both in blood and in spirit, records the
fact that the day was the same as that on which the Conqueror had landed
forty years earlier, and regards the result as reversing that event, and
as making Normandy subject to England. This was not far from its real
historical meaning.

Robert clearly recognized the completeness of Henry's success. By his
orders Falaise was surrendered, and the castle of Rouen; and he formally
absolved the towns of Normandy in general from their allegiance to
himself. At Falaise Robert's young son William, known afterwards as
William Clito, was captured and brought before Henry. Not wishing himself
to be held responsible for his safety, Henry turned him over to the
guardianship of Elias of Saint-Saens, who had married a natural daughter
of Robert's. One unsought-for result of the conquest of Normandy was that
Ranulf Flambard, who was in charge of the bishopric of Lisieux, succeeded
in making his peace with the king and obtained his restoration to Durham,
but he never again became a king's minister. Only Robert of Belleme
thought of further fighting. As a vassal of Elias, Count of Maine, he
applied to him for help, and promised a long resistance with his
thirty-four strong castles. Elias refused his aid, pointed out the
unwisdom of such an attempt, defended Henry's motives, and advised
submission, promising his good influences with Henry. This advice Robert
concluded to accept. Henry, on his side, very likely had some regard to
the thirty-four castles, and decided to bide his time. Peace, for the
present, was made between them.

Some measures which Henry considered necessary for the security of
Normandy, he did not think it wise to carry out by his own unsupported
action. In the middle of October a great council of Norman barons was
called to meet at Lisieux. Here it was decreed that all possessions which
had been wrongfully taken from churches or other legitimate holders
during the confusion of the years since the death of William the
Conqueror should be restored, and all grants from the ducal domain to
unworthy persons, or usurpations which Robert had not been able to
prevent, were ordered to be resumed. It is of especial interest that the
worst men of the prisoners taken at Tinchebrai were here condemned to
perpetual imprisonment. The name of Robert is not mentioned among those
included in this judgment, and later Henry justifies his conduct toward
his brother on the ground of political necessity, not of legal right. The
result of all these measures--we may believe it would have been the
result of the conquest alone--was to put an end at once to the disorder,
private warfare, and open robbery from which the duchy had so long
suffered. War enough there was in Normandy, in the later years of Henry's
reign, but it was regular warfare. The license of anarchy was at an end.
Robert was carried over to England, to a fate for which there could be
little warrant in strict law, but which was abundantly deserved and fully
supported by the public opinion of the time. He was kept in prison in one
royal castle or another until his death twenty-eight years later. If
Henry's profession was true, as it probably was, that he kept him as a
royal prisoner should be kept, and supplied him with the luxuries he
enjoyed so much, the result was, it is possible, not altogether
disagreeable to Robert himself. Some time later, when the pope
remonstrated with Henry on his conduct, and demanded the release of
Robert, the king's defence of his action was so complete that the pope
had no reply to make. Political expediency, the impossibility of
otherwise maintaining peace, was the burden of his answer, and this, if
not actual justice, must still be Henry's defence for his treatment of
his brother.

Henry returned to England in time for the Easter meeting of his court,
but the legalization of the compromise with Anselm was deferred to
Whitsuntide because the pope was about to hold a council in France, from
which some action affecting the question might be expected. At
Whitsuntide Anselm was ill, and another postponement was necessary. At
last, early in August, at a great council held in the king's palace in
London, the agreement was ratified. No formal statement of the terms of
this compromise has been given us by any contemporary authority, but such
accounts of it as we have, and such inferences as seem almost equally
direct, probably leave no important point unknown. Of all his claims,
Henry surrendered only the right of investiture with ring and staff.
These were spiritual symbols, typical of the bishop's relation to his
Church and of his pastoral duties. To the ecclesiastical mind the
conferring of them would seem more than any other part of the procedure
the actual granting of the religious office, though they had been used by
the kings merely as symbols of the fief granted. Some things would seem
to indicate that the forms of canonical election were more respected
after this compromise than they had been before, but this is true of
forms only, and if we may judge from a sentence in a letter to the pope,
in which Anselm tells him of the final settlement, this was not one of
the terms of the formal agreement, and William of Malmesbury says
distinctly that it was not. In all else the Church gave way to the king.
He made choice of the person to be elected, with such advice and counsel
as he chose to take, and his choice was final. He received the homage and
conferred investiture of the temporalities of the office of the new
prelate as his father and brother had done. Only when this was completed
to the king's satisfaction, and his permission to proceed received, was
the bishop elect consecrated to his spiritual office.

To us it seems clear that the king had yielded only what was a mere form,
and that he had retained all the real substance of his former power, and
probably this was also the judgment of the practical mind of Henry and of
his chief adviser, the Count of Meulan. We must not forget, however, that
the Church seemed to believe that it had gained something real, and that
a strong party of the king's supporters long and vigorously resisted
these concessions in his court. The Church had indeed set an example, for
itself at least, of successful attack on the absolute monarchy, and had
shown that the strongest of kings could be forced to yield a point
against his will. Before the century was closed, in a struggle even more
bitterly fought and against a stronger king, the warriors of the Church
looked back to this example and drew strength from this success. It is
possible, also, that these cases of concession forced from reluctant
kings served as suggestion and model at the beginning of a political
struggle which was to have more permanent results. All this, however, lay
yet in the future, and could not be suspected by either party to this
earliest conflict.

The agreement ratified in 1107 was the permanent settlement of the
investiture controversy for England, and under it developed the practice
on ecclesiastical vacancies which we may say has continued to the present
time, interrupted under some sovereigns by vacillating practice or by a
more or less theoretical concession of freedom of election to the Church.
Henry's grandson, Henry II, describes this practice as it existed in his
day, in one of the clauses of the Constitutions of Clarendon. The clause
shows that some at least of the inventions of Ranulf Flambard had not
been discarded, and there is abundant evidence to show that the king was
really stating in it, as he said he was, the customs of his grandfather's
time. The clause reads: "When an archbishopric or bishopric or abbey or
priory of the king's domain has fallen vacant, it ought to be in the
king's hands, and he shall take thence all the returns and revenues as
domain revenues, and when the time has come to provide for the Church,
the king shall call for the chief persons of the Church [that is, summon
a representation of the Church to himself], and in the king's chapel the
election shall be made with the assent of the king and with the counsel
of those ecclesiastics of the kingdom whom he shall have summoned for
this purpose, and there the elect shall do homage and fealty to the king,
as to his liege lord, of his life and limb and earthly honour, saving his
order, before he shall be consecrated."

This long controversy having reached a settlement which Anselm was at
least willing to accept, he was ready to resume the long-interrupted
duties of primate of Britain. On August 11, assisted by an imposing
assembly of his suffragan bishops, and by the Archbishop of York, he
consecrated in Canterbury five bishops at once, three of these of
long-standing appointment,--William Giffard of Winchester, Roger of
Salisbury, and Reinelm of Hereford; the other two, William of Exeter and
Urban of Landaff, recently chosen. The renewed activity of Anselm as head
of the English Church, which thus began, was not for long. His health had
been destroyed. His illness returned at frequent intervals, and in less
than two years his life and work were finished. These months, however,
were filled with considerable activity, not all of it of the kind we
should prefer to associate with the name of Anselm. Were we shut up to
the history of this time for our knowledge of his character, we should be
likely to describe it in different terms from those we usually employ.
The earlier Anselm, of gentle character, shrinking from the turmoil of
strife and longing only for the quiet of the abbey library, had
apparently disappeared. The experiences of the past few years had been,
indeed, no school in gentleness, and the lessons which he had learned at
Rome were not those of submission to the claims of others. In the great
council which ratified the compromise, Anselm had renewed his demand for
the obedience of the Archbishop of York, and this demand he continued to
push with extreme vigour until his death, first against Gerard, who died
early in 1108, and then against his successor, Thomas, son of Bishop
Samson of Worcester, appointed by Henry. A plan for the division of the
large diocese of Lincoln, by the creation of a new diocese of Ely, though
by common consent likely to improve greatly the administration of the
Church, he refused to approve until the consent of the pope had been
obtained. He insisted, against the will of the monks and the request of
the king, upon the right of the archbishop to consecrate the abbot of St.
Augustine's, Canterbury, in whatever church he pleased, and again, in
spite of the king's request, he maintained the same right in the
consecration of the bishop of London. The canon law of the Church
regarding marriage, lay or priestly, he enforced with unsparing rigour.
Almost his last act, it would seem, before his death, was to send a
violent letter to Archbishop Thomas of York, suspending him from his
office and forbidding all bishops of his obedience, under penalty of
"perpetual anathema," to consecrate him or to communicate with him if
consecrated by any one outside of England. On April 21, 1109, this stormy
episcopate closed, a notable instance of a man of noble character, and in
some respects of remarkable genius, forced by circumstances out of the
natural current of his life into a career for which he was not fitted.

For Henry these months since the conquest of Normandy and, the settlement
of the dispute with Anselm had been uneventful. Normandy had settled into
order as if the mere change of ruler had been all it needed, and in
England, which now occupied Henry's attention only at intervals, there
was no occasion of anxiety. Events were taking place across the border of
Normandy which were to affect the latter years of Henry and the future
destinies of England in important ways. In the summer of 1108, the long
reign of Philip I of France had closed, and the reign, nearly as long, of
his son, Louis VI, had begun, the first of the great Capetian kings, in
whose reign begins a definite policy of aggrandizement for the dynasty
directed in great part against their rivals, the English kings. Just
before the death of Anselm occurred that of Fulk Rechin, Count of Anjou,
and the succession of his son Fulk V. He was married to the heiress of
Maine, and a year later this inheritance, the overlordship of which the
Norman dukes had so long claimed, fell in to him. Of Henry's marriage
with Matilda two children had been born who survived infancy,--Matilda,
the future empress, early in 1102, and William in the late summer or
early autumn of 1103. The queen herself, who had for a time accompanied
the movements of her husband, now resided mostly at Westminster, where
she gained the fame of liberality to foreign artists and of devotion to
pious works.

It was during a stay of Henry's in England, shortly after the death of
Anselm, that he issued one of the very few documents of his reign which
give us glimpses into the changes in institutions which were then taking
place. This is a writ, which we have in two slightly varying forms, one
of them addressed to Bishop Samson of Worcester, dealing with the local
judicial system. From it we infer that the old Saxon system of local
justice, the hundred and county courts, had indeed never fallen into
disuse since the days of the Conquest, but that they had been subjected
to many irregularities of time and place, and that the sheriffs had often
obliged them to meet when and where it suited their convenience; and we
are led to suspect that they had been used as engines of extortion for
the advantage both of the local officer and of the king. All this Henry
now orders to cease. The courts are to meet at the same times and places
as in the days of King Edward, and if they need to be summoned to special
sessions for any royal business, due notice shall be given.

Even more important is the evidence which we get from this document of a
royal system of local justice acting in conjunction with the old system
of shire courts. The last half of the writ implies that there had arisen
thus early the questions of disputed jurisdiction, of methods of trial,
and of attendance at courts, with which we are familiar a few generations
later in the history of English law. Distinctly implied is a conflict
between a royal jurisdiction on one side and a private baronial
jurisdiction on the other, which is settled in favour of the lord's
court, if the suit is between two of his own vassals; but if the
disputants are vassals of two different lords, it is decided in favour of
the king's,--that is, of the court held by the king's justice in the
county, who may, indeed, be no more than the sheriff acting in this
capacity. This would be in strict harmony with the ruling feudal law of
the time. But when the suit comes on for trial in the county court, it is
not to be tried by the old county court forms. It is not a case in the
sheriffs county court, the people's county court, but one before the
king's justice, and the royal, that is, Norman method of trial by duel is
to be adopted. Finally, at the close of the writ, appears an effort to
defend this local court system against the liberties and immunities of
the feudal system, an attempt which easily succeeded in so far as it
concerned the king's county courts, but failed in the case of the purely
local courts.[21]

If this interpretation is correct, this writ is typical of a process of
the greatest interest, which we know from other sources was
characteristic of the reign, a process which gave their peculiar form to
the institutions of England and continued for more than a century. By
this process the local law and institutions of Saxon England, and the
royal law and central institutions of the Normans, were wrought into a
single and harmonious whole. This process of union which was long and
slow, guided by no intention beyond the convenience of the moment,
advances in two stages. In the first, the Norman administration, royal
and centralized, is carried down into the counties and there united, for
the greater ease of accomplishing certain desired ends of administration,
with the local Saxon system. This resulted in several very important
features of our judicial organization. The second stage was somewhat the
reverse of this. In it, certain features which had developed in the local
machinery, the jury and election, are adopted by the central government
and applied to new uses. This was the origin of the English parliamentary
system. It is of the first of these stages only that we get a glimpse, in
this document, and from other sources of the reign of Henry, and these
bits of evidence only allow us to say that those judicial arrangements
which were put into organized form in his grandson's reign had their
beginning, as occasional practices, in his own. Not long after the date
of this charter, a series of law books, one of the interesting features
of the reign, began to appear. Their object was to state the old laws of
England, or these in connexion with the laws then current in the courts,
or with the legislation of the first of the Norman kings. Private
compilations, or at most the work of persons whose position in the
service of the state could give no official authority to their codes,
their object was mainly practical; but they reveal not merely a general
interest in the legal arrangements existing at the moment, but a clear
consciousness that these rested upon a solid substratum of ancient law,
dating from a time before the Conquest. Towards this ancient law the
nation had lately turned, and had been answered by the promise in Henry's
coronation charter. Worn with the tyranny of William Rufus, men had
looked back with longing to the better conditions of an earlier age, and
had demanded the laws of Edward or of Canute, as, under the latter, men
had looked back to the laws of Edgar, demanding laws, not in the sense of
the legislation of a certain famous king, but of the whole legal and
constitutional situation of earlier times, thought of as a golden age
from which the recent tyranny had departed. What they really desired was
never granted them. The Saxon law still survived, and was very likely
renewed in particulars by Henry I, but it survived as local law and as
the law of the minor affairs of life. The law of public affairs and of
all great interests, the law of the tyranny from which men suffered, was
new. It made much use of the local machinery which it found but in a new
way, and it was destined to be modified in some points by the old law,
but it was new as the foundation on which was to be built the later
constitution of the state. The demand for the laws of an earlier time did
not affect the process of this building, and the effort to put the
ancient law into accessible form, which may have had this demand as one
of its causes, is of interest to the student of general history chiefly
for the evidence it gives of the great work of union which was then going
on, of Saxon and Norman, in law as in blood, into a new nation.

It was during the same stay in England that an opportunity was offered to
Henry to form an alliance on the continent which promised him great
advantages in case of an open conflict with the king of France. At
Henry's Whitsuntide court, in 1109, appeared an embassy from Henry V of
Germany, to ask for the hand of his daughter, then less than eight years
old. This request Henry would not be slow to grant. Conflicting policies
would never be likely to disturb such an alliance, and the probable
interest which the sovereign of Germany would have in common with himself
in limiting the expansion of France, or even in detaching lands from her
allegiance, would make the alliance seem of good promise for the future.
On the part of Henry of Germany, such a proposal must have come from
policy alone, but the advantage which he hoped to gain from it is not so
easy to discover as in the case of Henry of England. If he entertained
any idea of a common policy against France, this was soon dropped, and
his purpose must in all probability be sought in plans within the empire.
Henry's recent accession to the throne of Germany had been followed by--a
change of policy. During the later years of his unfortunate father, whose
stormy reign had closed in the triumph of the two enemies whom he had
been obliged to face at once, the Church of Gregory VII, contending with
the empire for equality and even for supremacy, and the princes of
Germany, grasping in their local dominions the rights of sovereignty, the
ambitious prince had fought against the king, his father. But when he had
at last become king himself, his point of view was changed. The conflict
in which his father had failed he was ready to renew with vigour and with
hope of success. That he should have believed, as he evidently did, that
a marriage with the young English princess was the most useful one he
could make in this crisis of his affairs is interesting evidence, not
merely of the world's opinion of Henry I, but also of the rank of the
English monarchy among the states of Europe.

Just as she was completing her eighth year, Matilda was sent over to
Germany to learn the language and the ways of her new country. A stately
embassy and a rich dower went with her, for which her father had provided
by taking the regular feudal aid to marry the lord's eldest daughter, at
the rate of three shillings per hide throughout England. On April 10,
1110, she was formally betrothed to the emperor-elect at Utrecht. On July
25, she was crowned Queen of Germany at Mainz. Then she was committed to
the care of the Archbishop of Trier, who was to superintend her
education. On January 7,1114, just before Matilda had completed her
twelfth year, the marriage was celebrated at Mainz, in the presence of a
great assembly. All things had been going well with Henry. In Germany and
in Italy he had overcome the princes and nobles who had ventured to
oppose him. The clergy of Germany seemed united on his side in the still
unsettled investiture conflict with the papacy. The brilliant assembly of
princes of the empire and foreign ambassadors which gathered in the city
for this marriage was in celebration as well of the triumph of the
emperor. On this great occasion, and in spite of her youth, Matilda bore
herself as a queen, and impressed those who saw her as worthy of the
position, highest in rank in the world, to which she had been called. To
the end of her stay in Germany she retained the respect and she won the
hearts of her German subjects.

By August, 1111, King Henry's stay in England was over, and he crossed
again to Normandy. What circumstances called him to the continent we do
not know, but probably events growing out of a renewal of war with Louis
VI, which seems to have been first begun early in 1109.[22] However this
may be, he soon found himself in open conflict all along his southern
border with the king of France and the Count of Anjou, with Robert of
Belleme and other barons of the border to aid them. Possibly Henry feared
a movement in Normandy itself in favour of young William Clito, or learned
of some expression of a wish not infrequent among the Norman barons in
times a little later, that he might succeed to his father's place. At any
rate, at this time, Henry ordered Robert of Beauchamp to seize the boy in
the castle of Elias of Saint-Saens, to whom he had committed him five
years before. The attempt failed. William was hastily carried off to
France by friendly hands, in the absence of his guardian. Elias joined him
soon after, shared his long exile, and suffered confiscation of his fief
in consequence. It would not be strange if Henry was occasionally
troubled, in that age of early but full-grown chivalry, by the sympathy of
the Norman barons with the wanderings and friendless poverty of their
rightful lord; but Henry was too strong and too severe in his punishment
of any treason for sympathy ever to pass into action on any scale likely
to assist the exiled prince, unless in combination with some strong enemy
of the king's from without.

Henry would appear at first sight greatly superior to Louis VI of France
in the military power and resources of which he had immediate command, as
he certainly was in diplomatic skill. The Capetian king, master only of
the narrow domains of the Isle of France, and hardly of those until the
constant fighting of Louis's reign had subdued the turbulent barons of
the province; hemmed in by the dominions, each as extensive as his own,
of the great barons nominally his vassals but sending to his wars as
scanty levies as possible, or appearing openly in the ranks of his
enemies as their own interests dictated; threatened by foreign foes, the
kings of England and of Germany, who would detach even these loosely held
provinces from his kingdom,--the Capetian king could hardly have defended
himself at this epoch from a neighbour so able as Henry I, wielding the
united strength of England and Normandy, and determined upon conquest.
The safety of the Capetian house was secured by the absence of both these
conditions. Henry was not ambitious of conquest; and as his troubles with
France increased so did dissensions in Normandy, which crippled his
resources and divided his efforts. The net result at the close of Henry's
reign was that the king of England was no stronger than in 1110, unless
we count the uncertain prospect of the Angevin succession; while the king
of France was master of larger resources and a growing power.

It seems most likely that it was in the spring of 1109 that the rivalry
of the two kings first led to an open breach. This was regarding the
fortress of Gisors, on the Epte, which William Rufus had built against
the French Vexin. Louis summoned Henry either to surrender or to demolish
it, but Henry refused either alternative, and occupied it with his
troops. The French army opposed him on the other side of the river, but
there was no fighting. Louis, who greatly enjoyed the physical pleasure
of battle, proposed to Henry that they should meet on the bridge which
crossed the river at this point, in sight of the two armies, and decide
their quarrel by a duel. Henry, the diplomatist and not the fighter,
laughed at the proposition. In Louis's army were two men, one of whom had
lately been, and the other of whom was soon to be, in alliance with
Henry, Robert of Jerusalem, Count of Flanders, and Theobald, Count of
Blois, eldest son of Henry's sister and brother of his successor as king,
Stephen of England. Possibly a truce had soon closed this first war, but
if so, it had begun again in the year of Henry's crossing, 1111; and the
Count of Blois was now in the field against his sovereign and defeated
Louis in a battle in which the Count of Flanders was killed. The war with
Louis ran its course for a year and a half longer without battles.
Against Anjou Henry built or strengthened certain fortresses along the
border and waited the course of events.

On November 4, 1112, an advantage fell to Henry which may have gone far
to secure him the remarkable terms of peace with which the war was
closed. He arrested Robert of Belleme, his constant enemy and the enemy
of all good men, "incomparable in all forms of evil since the beginning
of Christian days." He had come to meet the king at Bonneville, to bring
a message from Louis, thinking that Henry would be obliged to respect his
character as an envoy. Probably the king took the ground that by his
conduct Robert had forfeited all rights, and was to be treated
practically as a common outlaw. At any rate, he ordered his arrest and
trial. On three specific counts--that he had acted unjustly toward his
lord, that summoned three times to appear in court for trial he had not
come, and that as the king's viscount he had failed to render account of
the revenues he had collected--he was condemned and sentenced to
imprisonment. On Henry's return to England he was carried over and kept
in Wareham castle, where he was still alive in 1130. The Norman historian
Orderic records that this action of Henry's met with universal approval
and was greeted with general rejoicing.

During Lent of the next year, 1113, Henry made formal peace with both his
enemies, the king of France and the Count of Anjou. The peace with the
latter was first concluded. It was very possibly Fulk's refusal to
recognize Henry's overlordship of Maine that occasioned the war. To this
he now assented. He did homage for the county, and received investiture
of it from the hand of the king. He also promised the hand of his
daughter Matilda to Henry's son William. Henry, on his side, restored to
favour the Norman allies of Fulk. A few days later a treaty was made at
Gisors, with the king of France. Louis formally conceded to Henry the
overlordship of Belleme, which had not before depended upon the duchy of
Normandy, and that of Maine, and Britanny. In the case of Maine and of
Britanny this was the recognition of long-standing claims and of
accomplished facts, for Count Alan Fergant of Britanny, as well as Fulk
of Anjou, had already become the vassal of Henry, and had obtained the
hand of a natural daughter of the king for his son Conan, who in this
year became count. But the important lordship of Belleme was a new
cession. It was not yet in Henry's hands, nor had it been reckoned as a
part of Normandy, though the lords of Belleme had been also Norman
barons. Concessions such as these, forming with Normandy the area of many
a kingdom, were made by a king like Louis VI, only under the compulsion
of necessity. They mark the triumph of Henry's skill, of his vigorous
determination, and of his ready disregard of the legal rights of others,
if they would not conform to his ideas of proper conduct or fit into his
system of government. The occupation of Belleme required a campaign.
William Talvas, the son of Robert, while himself going to defend his
mother's inheritance of Ponthieu, had left directions with the vassals of
Belleme for its defence, but the campaign was a short one. Henry,
assisted by his new vassal, the Count of Anjou, and by his nephew,
Theobald of Blois, speedily reduced city and lordship to submission.

Orderic Vitalis, who was living in Normandy at this time, in the
monastery of St. Evroul, declares that following this peace, made in the
spring of 1113, for five years, Henry governed his kingdom and his duchy
on the two sides of the sea with great tranquillity. These years, to the
great insurrection of the Norman barons in 1118, were not entirely
undisturbed, but as compared with the period which goes before, or with
that which follows, they deserve the historian's description. One great
army was led into Wales in 1114, and the Welsh princes were forced to
renew their submission. Henry was apparently interested in the slow
incorporation of Wales in England which was going forward, but prudently
recognized the difficulties of attempting to hasten the process by
violence. He was ready to use the Church, that frequent medieval engine
of conquest, and attempted with success, both before this date and later,
to introduce English bishops into old Welsh sees. From the early part of
this reign also dates the great Flemish settlement in Pembrokeshire,
which was of momentous influence on all that part of Wales.

These years were also fully occupied with controversies in the Church,
whose importance for the state Henry clearly recognized. Out of the
conflict over investitures, regarded from the practical side, the Norman
monarchy had emerged, as we have seen, in triumph, making but one slight
concession, and that largely a matter of form. From the struggle with
the empire on the same issue, which was at this date still unsettled, the
Church was destined to gain but little more, perhaps an added point of
form, depending for its real value on the spirit with which the final
agreement was administered. In the matter of investitures, the Church
could claim but little more than a drawn battle on any field; and yet, in
that great conflict with the monarchies of Europe into which the papacy
had been led by the genius of Hildebrand, it had gained a real and great
victory in all that was of the most vital importance. The pope was no
longer the creature and servant of the emperor; he was not even a bishop
of the empire. In the estimation of all Christendom, he occupied an equal
throne, exercised a co-ordinate power, and appeared even more directly as
the representative of the divine government of the world. Under his rule
was an empire far more extensive than that which the emperor controlled,
coming now to be closely centralized with all the machinery of
government, legal, judicial, and administrative, highly organized and
pervaded from the highest to the lowest ranks with a uniform theory of
the absolute right of the ruler and of the duty of unquestioning
obedience which the most perfect secular absolutism would strive in vain
to secure. To have transformed the Church, which the emperor Henry III
had begun to reform in 1046, into that which survived the last year of
his dynasty, was a work of political genius as great as history records.

It was not before the demand of the pope in the matter of investiture
that the Norman absolute government of the Church went down. It fell
because the Norman theory of the national Church, closely under the
control of the state in every field of its activity, a part of the state
machinery, and a valuable assistant in the government of the nation, was
undermined and destroyed by a higher, and for that age a more useful,
conception. When the idea of the Church as a world-wide unity, more
closely bound to its theocratic head than to any temporal sovereign, and
with a mission and responsibility distinct from those of the state, took
possession of the body of the clergy, as it began to do in the reign of
Henry, it was impossible to maintain any longer the separateness of the
Norman Church. But the incorporation of the Norman and English churches
in the papal monarchy meant the slipping from the king's hands of power
in many individual cases, which the first two Norman kings had exercised
without question, and which even the third had continued to exercise.

The struggle of York to free itself from the promise of obedience to
Canterbury was only one of the many channels through which these new
ideas entered the kingdom. A new tide of monasticism had arisen on the
continent, which did not spend itself even with the northern borders of
England. The new orders and the new spirit found many abiding places in
the kingdom, and drew laity as well as clergy under their strong
influence. This was especially, though not alone, true of the Augustinian
canons, who possessed some fifty houses in England at the close of
Henry's reign, and in the later years of his life, of the Cistercians,
with whose founding an English saint, Stephen Harding, had had much to
do, and some of whose monasteries founded in this period, Tintern,
Rievaulx, Furness, and Fountains, are still familiar names, famous for
the beauty of their ruins. This new monasticism had been founded wholly
in the ideas of the new ecclesiastical monarchy, and was an expression of
them. The monasteries it created were organized, not as parts of the
state in which they were situated, but as parts of a great order,
international in its character, free from local control, and, though its
houses were situated in many lands, forming almost an independent state
under the direct sovereignty of the pope. The new monarchical papacy,
which emerged from the conflicts of this period, occupied Christendom
with its garrisons in these monastic houses, and every house was a source
from which its ruling ideas spread widely abroad.

A new education was also beginning in this same period, and was growing
in definiteness of content and of organization, in response to a demand
which was becoming eager. At many centres in Europe groups of scholars
were giving formal lectures on the knowledge of the day, and were
attracting larger and larger numbers of students by the fame of their
eloquence, or by the stimulus of their new method. The beginnings of
Oxford as a place of teachers, as well as of Paris, reach back into this
time. The ambitious young man, who looked forward to a career in the
Church, began to feel the necessity of getting the training which these
new schools could impart. The number of students whom we can name, who
went from England to Paris or elsewhere to study, is large for the time;
but if we possessed a list of all the English students, at home or
abroad, of this reign, we should doubtless estimate the force of this
influence more highly, even in the period of its beginning. For the ideas
which now reigned in the Church pervaded the new education as they did
the new monasticism. There was hardly a source, indeed, from which the
student could learn any other doctrine, as there has remained none in the
learning of the Roman Church to the present day. The entire literature of
the Church, its rapidly forming new philosophy and theology, its already
greatly developed canon law, breathed only the spirit of a divinely
inspired centralization. And the student who returned, very likely to
rapid promotion in the English Church, did not bring back these ideas for
himself alone. He set the fashion of thinking for his less fortunate

It was by influences like these that the gradual and silent transformation
was wrought which made of the English Church a very different thing at the
end of these thirty-five years from what it had been at the beginning of
the reign. The first two Norman kings had reigned over a Church which knew
no other system than strict royal control. Henry I continued to exercise
to the end of his reign, with only slight modification and the faint
beginnings of change, the same prerogatives, but it was over a Church
whose officers had been trained in an opposing system, and now profoundly
disbelieved in his rights. How long would it avail the Norman monarchy
anything to have triumphed in the struggle of investitures, when it could
no longer find the bishop to appoint who was not thoroughly devoted to the
highest papal claims? The answer suggested, in its extreme form, is too
strong a statement for the exact truth; for in whatever age, or under
whatever circumstances, a strong king can maintain himself, there he can
always find subservient tools. But the interested service of individuals
is a very different foundation of power from the traditional and
unquestioning obedience of a class. The history of the next age shows
that the way had been prepared for rapid changes, when political
conditions would permit; and the grandson of the first Henry found
himself obliged to yield, in part at least, to demands of the Church
entirely logical in themselves, but unheard of in his grandfather's time.

[18] Eadmer, p. 172.

[19] Liebermann, Quadripartitus, p. 155.

[20] Anselm, Epist. iv. 50, 51; Luchaire, Louis VI, Annales, No. 31.

[21] See American Historical Review, viii, 478.

[22] Luchaire, Louis VI, Annales, p. cxv.



We need not enter into the details of the long struggle between
Canterbury and York. The archbishopric of Canterbury was vacant for five
years after the death of Anselm; its revenues went to support the various
undertakings of the king. In April, 1114, Ralph of Escures, Bishop of
Rochester, was chosen Anselm's successor. The archbishopric of York had
been vacant only a few months, when it was filled, later in the summer,
by the appointment of Thurstan, one of the king's chaplains. The question
of the obligation of the recently elected Archbishop of York to bind
himself to obedience to the primate of Britain, whether settled as a
principle or as a special case, by an English council or by the king or
under papal authority, arose anew with every new appointment. In the
period which follows the appointment of Thurstan, a new element of
interest was added to the dispute by the more deliberate policy of the
pope to make use of it to gain a footing for his authority in England,
and to weaken the unity and independence of the English Church. This
attempt led to a natural alliance of parties, in which, while the issue
was at bottom really the same, the lines of the earlier investiture
conflict were somewhat rearranged. The pope supported the claim of York,
while the king defended the right of Canterbury as bound up with his own.

At an important meeting of the great council at Salisbury, in March,
1116, the king forced upon Thurstan the alternative of submission to
Canterbury or resignation. The barons and prelates of the realm had been
brought together to make formal recognition of the right to the
succession of Henry's son William, now fourteen years of age. Already in
the previous summer this had been done in Normandy, the barons doing
homage and swearing fealty to the prince. Now the English barons followed
the example, and, by the same ceremony, the strongest tie known to the
feudal world, bound themselves to accept the son as their lord on the
death of his father. The prelates, for their part, took oath that if they

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