Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

king of England, having intelligence of their design, made all the preparations, he could, to withstand them. In the mean while, William Duke of Normandy, resolving to make his advantage of these dis. tractions, raised a great army, and prepared a numerous fleet, which consisted of eight-hundred and ninety-six ships, in order to make a descent into England; he soon after hoisted sail, and his whole army landed at Pemsey, near Hastings in Sussex, on the twenty-eighth of September, 1066. Being landed, he caused all his ships to be set on fire, that his men might see, that there was no way left, but either to conquer, or to perish in the attempt. He intrenched himself, and af. terwards marched, with a considerable body of men, to lastings, where he built a fort. He published very strict orders, that none of his soldiers should plunder any of the inhabitants, and kept himself so quietly, for the space of fifteen days, as if there was no hostility intended at all. He pretended a title to the crown, by vertue of a gift from Edward the Confessor, as also by some agreement, or consent, made betwixt him and King Harold. But, whatsoever he pretended, it is certain, that he confessed, on his death-bed, that he possessed himself of the kingdom by no other title, than by conquest; and his deportment towards the English made it evident, that he never in. tended otherwise.

The king, having given battle to his brother, and the King of Nor. way's forces, and defeated them, but with the loss of a considerable number of men, received the news of the Duke of Normandy's landing in England. Being flushed with his former victory, he immedi. ately directed his march towards Hastings, though his army had been much weakened and lessened in the late fight. His chief command. ers would have dissuaded him from engaging with the enemy upon a sudden, lest the ill circumstances, his army was then in, might prove the occasion of his overthrow; but all the arguments, they could use,

; were of no force to prevent his destiny.

The Duke of Normandy, being advertised of the king's approach, sent a monk to him, in the quality of his ambassador, with instructions to offer these propositions to him : That either he should resign the kingdom to the duke upon certain conditions, or hold it tributary of him; or else that they two, in the sight of both armies, should determine the matter by a single combate; and, in case of refusal, the duke offered to refer it to the see of Rome.

But King Harold, being resolutely bent to fight his enemy, what. ever it should cost him, dismissed the ambassador, telling him, that God only should be the judge betwixt the duke and him. All thoughts of an accommodation being laid aside, the generals on both sides drew up their armies into order of battle; the king himself stood on foot by his standard, together with his two brothers, Girthe and Leof. wine, to the end that, in the common danger, no man should enter. tain the least thought of saving himself by flight. Both armies, being engaged early in the morning, fought with various success all that day, till, towards the evening, the king was killed by the shot of an arrow, which pierced his brains ; whereupon the Englishmen quitted the field, and left the duke an intire victory. In this battle fell the

king's two brothers, and most of the nobility of the kingdom. John Taylor, in his history of Normandy, relates, that there were slain, on the English side, sixty-seven thousand nine-hundred seventy-four; some other historians say but forty-seven thousand, vine hundred forty-four; of the Normans were killed six thousand and thirteen, besides such as were drowned at sea before his landing.

The king's death being known, Edwin and Morcar, two brothers, the one Earl of Mercia, the other Earl of Northumberland, having escaped from the battle, came with their retinue to London. They would have persuaded the citizens to make one of them king, in order, if it were possible, to retrieve the misfortune of the late fight, but their proposals would not be hearkened to; so the two brothers went to Northumberland, in hopes to secure themselves there, believing that the duke would hardly come thither, being a place so re. mote from London.

The two brothers being rejected, the nobility and the citizens would have made choice of Edgar, the nephew of Edmund Ironside, to be their king; and did promise, that, under his conduct, they would once more try the fortune of the kingdom, in a new battle against the duke. But, by reason of the danger that was so near at hand, and the discord which was amongst them, they did neither; so that the Englishmen, if they had unanimously agreed, might have repaired the loss, which they had sustained in the battle of Hastings. But, whilst they would have none of their own country to be their king, they made way for a stranger to come and tyrannise over them.

While the Londoners were trifling away their time in fruitless de. bates, the duke, though he determined to come to London, yet would not come the direct way, which led thither, but marched up and down through Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, and Berkshire, wasting the country till he came to Wallingford, where he rested his army for some time; afterwards, passing the river of Thames, he continued his march through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire, having burned all the towns, and killed all the in. habitants, they could meet with, in their way from Hastings, till he came to Berkhamstead, where he made a halt. Thither came to him Aldred Archbishop of York, Wolstone Bishop of Worcester, Wilfire Bishop of Hereford, Clito Edgar, and all the noblemen about London, with many others, who all together submitted them. selves, and swore fealty to him, and delivered pledges for their fide, lity; with whom also the duke made a certain league, or agreement; but, notwithstanding the said submission and agreement, he per. mitted his men still to burn towns, destroy the natives, and to ravage all that stood in their way, as they had done before.

A little before Christmas, he marched with his whole army towards London, having his scouts before him to observe the manners and behaviour of the people; who, upon the arrival of the scouts, were assembled in the streets, and fully determined to oppose the duke's entry; who, being come to London, and finding the inhabitants in

king of England, having intelligence of their design, made all the pre. parations, he could, to withstand them. In the mean while, William Duke of Normandy, resolving to make his advantage of these dis. tractions, raised a great army, and prepared a numerous fleet, which consisted of eight-hundred and ninety-six ships, in order to make a descent into England; he soon after hoisted sail, and his whole army landed at Pemsey, near Hastings in Sussex, on the twenty-eighth of September, 1066. Being landed, be caused all his ships to be set on fire, that his men might see, that there was no way left, but either to conquer, or to perish in the attempt. He intrenched himself, and af. terwards marched, with a considerable body of men, to Hastings, where he built a fort. He published very strict orders, that none of his soldiers should plunder any of the inhabitants, and kept himself so quietly, for the space of fifteen days, as if there was no hostility intended at all. He pretended a title to the crown, by vertue of a gift from Edward the Confessor, as also by some agreement, or consent, made betwixt him and King Harold. But, whatsoever he pretended, it is certain, that he confessed, on his death-bed, that he possessed himself of the kingdom by no other title, than by conquest; and his deportment towards the English made it evident, that he never in. tended otherwise.

The king, having given battle to his brother, and the King of Nor. way's forces, and defeated them, but with the loss of a considerable number of men, received the news of the Duke of Normandy's land. ing in England. Being flushed with his former victory, he immedi. ately directed his march towards Hastings, though his army had been much weakened and lessened in the late fight. His chief command. ers would have dissuaded him from engaging with the enemy upon a sudden, lest the ill circumstances, his army was then in, might prove the occasion of his overthrow ; but all the arguments, they could use, were of no force to prevent his destiny.

The Duke of Normandy, being advertised of the king's approach, sent a monk to him, in the quality of his ambassador, with instructions to offer these propositions to him : That either he should resign the kingdom to the duke upon certain conditions, or hold it tributary of him ; or else that they two, in the sight of both armies, should determine the matter by a single combate; and, in case of refusal, the duke offered to refer it to the see of Rome.

But King Harold, being resolutely bent to fight his enemy, what. ever it should cost him, dismissed the ambassador, telling him, that God only should be the judge betwixt the duke and him. All thoughts of an accommodation being laid aside, the generals on both sides drew up their armies into order of battle ; the king himself stood on foot by his standard, together with his two brothers, Girthe and Leof. wine, to the end that, in the common danger, no man should enter. tain the least thought of saving himself by flight. Both armies, being engaged early in the morning, fought with various success all that day, till, towards the evening, the king was killed by the shot of an arrow, which pierced his brains; whereupon the Englishmen quitted the field, and left the duke an intire victory. In this battle fell the

king's two brothers, and most of the nobility of the kingdom. John Taylor, in his history of Normandy, relates, that there were slain, on the English side, sixty-seven thousand nine-hundred seventy-four; some other historians say but forty-seven thousand, nine-hundred forty-four; of the Normans were killed six thousand and thirteen, besides such as were drowned at sea before his landing.

The king's death being known, Edwin and Morcar, two brothers, the one Earl of Mercia, the other Earl of Northumberland, having escaped from the battle, came with their retinue to London. They would have persuaded the citizens to make one of them king, in order, if it were possible, to retrieve the misfortune of the late fight, but their proposals would not be hearkened to; so the two brothers went to Northumberland, in hopes to secure themselves there, believing that the duke would hardly come thither, being a place so remote from London.

The two brothers being rejected, the nobility and the citizens would have made choice of Edgar, the nephew of Edmund Ironside, to be their king; and did promise, that, under his conduct, they would once more try the fortune of the kingdom, in a new battle against the duke. But, by reason of the danger that was so near at hand, and the discord which was amongst them, they did neither; so that the Englishmen, if they had unanimously agreed, might have repaired the loss, which they had sustained in the battle of Hastings. But, whilst they would have none of their own country to be their king, they made way for a stranger to come and tyrannise over them.

While the Londoners were trilling away their time in fruitless de. bates, the duke, though he determined to come to London, yet would not come the direct way, which led thither, but marched up and down through Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, and Berkshire, wasting the country till he came to Wallingford, where he rested his army for some time; afterwards, passing the river of Thames, he continued his march through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire, having burned all the towns, and killed all the in. habitants, they could meet with, in their way from llastings, till he came to Berkhamstead, where he made a halt. Thither came to him Aldred Archbishop of York, Wolstone Bishop of Worcester, Wilfire Bishop of Hereford, Clito Edgar, and all the noblemen about London, with many others, who all together submitted them. selves, and swore fealty to him, and delivered pledges for their fide, lity ; with whom also the duke made a certain league, or agreement; but, notwithstanding the said submission and agreement, he per. mitted his men still to burn towns, destroy the natives, and to ravage all that stood in their way, as they had done before.

A little before Christmas, he marched with his whole army towards London, having his scouts before him to observe the manners and behaviour of the people; who, upon the arrival of the scouts, were assembled in the streets, and fully determined to oppose the duke's entry; who, being come to London, and finding the inhabitants in when they saw they were not in a condition to make any farther resistance, submitted themselves to the conqueror, and gave him pledges for their future good behaviour.

The duke, having possessed himself of the capital city of the king. dom, was there, both by the Normans and Englishmen, chosen, and, proclaimed king on Christmas-day, and, on the same day, was crowned by the Archbishop of York.

Before I proceed any further in this tragical story, it will not be amiss to give some short account, how the Kentish men came to save their country, lives, laws, and liberties, in the midst of these devastations, which overspread all the rest of the kingdom, that our imprudent malecontents may see what effects an unanimous resist. ance is capable of producing, in such cases of extremity.

The king, soon after his coronation, took a journey to reduce Dover Castle, and the rest of the county of Kent; the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Eglesine, Abbot of the Augustines, being chief lords of that country, understanding the king's design, caused all the people of Kent to assemble at Canterbury, where they declared to them, “ That before the late revolution, there were no bondmen

in England, and, that now, as well the noblemen, as the com. 'mon people, were made subjects to the perpetual bondage of the Normans, and persuaded them to provide for their safety, from • the miserable example of an infinite number of their countrymen, • who groaned under the yoke of foreign slavery; they likewise

encouraged them to defend, manfully, their lives, liberties, and • the laws of their country; and that they both, after the ex. • ample of the Maccabees, would be their captains. At a day appointed, all the Kentish men at Swanescombe, two miles westward from Gravesend, hid themselves in a wood, where they lay in wait for the king's coming; and it was agreed, that all, as well horsemen as footmen, should carry boughs in their hands. The next day, the king came near Swanescombe, where he was mightily surprised to see himself, on a sudden, inclosed round about by a moving wood. When the Kentish men had hemmed him in, they threw down their boughs, sounded their trumpets, and drew their swords, &c. and shewed themselves in a readiness to give the king battle. The amazed king could not tell what to do in this streight, to which he was re. duced. Whereupon, the archbishop and the abbot advanced towards him, and acquainted him with their desires, and, in case of refusal, that they were all ready to die in the defence of their country. The king, who could do no otherwise, granted them every thing they asked; and by this means it was, that Kent preserved its laws and customs inviolable.

Having gone thus far in his conquest, he received homage, fealty, and pledges, from all the noblemen, who submitted themselves to him; he thought this might be a sufficient security for the present, until he could find an opportunity (as he afterwards did by degrees) to ex. tinguish them all.

It is the usual policy of conquerors, to bring as many strangers, as they can into the conquered country, that they may be the better

« ElőzőTovább »