MarginaliaWilliam Conqueror.WIlliam duke of Normandy surnamed Conquerour, base sonne of duke Robert, the 6. duke of Normandie, and nephew vnto king Edward:
The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008). This commentary will become available in due course from the 'Late Additions and Corrections' page of the edition.
Sexagenus erat ... comæta.
[1563 only adds: Dux Normanorum transit mare, vicit Heraldum.]
John Wade, University of Sheffield
It was the year 1066 when the English perished, a comet star showing. The duke of the Normans crossed the sea and conquered Harold.
This forms the introduction to the Battle Abbey Roll, a Latin inscription which was originally displayed in the abbey, but known to us only from sixteenth century versions of it published by Leland, Holinshed and Duchesne (cf. Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Whiche kyng thus beyng crowned, did reigne ouer the realme of england the space of 21. yeares, and one moneth with great seueritie and cruelnes, toward the Englishmen:
MarginaliaTributeburdening them with great tribute and exactions, whiche was to pay of euery hide of ground, conteining xx. acres, vi. shillings.
Erle Marcarus, and erle Edwyn, Edgar, Atheling, wyth his mother, and. ii. sisters, Margaret, & Christia, fled into Scotland.By meane wherof certaine parties of the land rebelled, and specially the citie of Exceter. But at last William ouercame them, and wanne the citie and punished them greuously. But for that and for other sterne dedes of William diuers of the Lordes departed to Scotland: wherfore he kept the other Lordes that taried the straiter, and exalted the Normanes, geuyng to them the chiefe possessions of the land. And for so much as he obteyned the kyngdome by force and dent of sword, he chaunged the whole state of the gouernaunce of this common weale: MarginaliaNew kyng, new lawes.and ordeyned new lawes at his owne pleasure, profitable to hymself, but greuous & hurtfull to the people: MarginaliaKyng Williā forsworne in abolishing k. Edwards lawes.abolishyng the lawes of k. Edward, wherunto notwithstāding he was sworn before, to obserue & mainteyne. For the which, great commotions and rebellions remained long after among the people, as histories record: to haue the sayd lawes of king Edward reuiued agayne.
Ouer and besides this, he builded 4. strong castles, 2. at Yorke, one at Nottingham, another at Lincolne, whiche garrisons he furnished with Normanes.
About the third yere of his reigne, Harold, & Canutus, sonnes of Suanus kyng of Denmarke entered into the North countrey. The Normanes within Yorke fearyng that the englishmen would ayde the Danes, fired the subuerbes of the towne. MarginaliaYorke wyth the minster of S. Peter brent.Wherof the flame was so big and the wynde so strong, that it tooke into the citie, & brent a great part therof, with þe mynster of S. Peter. Where no doubt many worthy workes and monumentes of bookes were consumed. In the tyme whereof he Danes by fauour of some of the citizens entred the citie, and slew more then iij. M. of the Normanes. But not long after kyng William chased them out and droue them to the ships, & tooke such displeasure with the inhabitaunce of that countrey, that he destroyed the land from Yorke to Durham, so that 9. yeres after, the prouince lay waste and vnmanured, onely excepte S. Ihons lād of Beuerley, and the people therof: so straitly beyng kept in penury by the warre of the kyng, MarginaliaThe north countrey wasted. Horrible famine in the north partesthat (as our english story sayth) they eate rats, cats, and dogs, and other vermine.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaSlaughter of Northumberland men.Also in the iiij. yeare of this kyng, Malcolyn kyng of Scottes, entred into Northumberland & destroyed the coūtrey, and slew there much of the people both of men women and children, after a lamentable sorte, and toke some prisoners. MarginaliaScottes subdued to K. William.But within ij. yeares after, kyng William made such warre vpon the Scottes, that he forced Malcolyn their kyng to do him homage.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe continuall affliction and disquietnes of thys Realme of England. And thus much concernyng the outward calamities of this realme vnder this foreine conquerour. Which is now the 5. tyme that the sayd land with the inhabitance therof hath bene scourged by the hand of God. First by the Romanes in the tyme of Iulius Cesar. Then by the Scottes and Pictes (as hath bene shewed) afterward by the Saxons. Agayne, the Saxons or Englishmen did not enioy the possession of Britanie with long quiete,
MarginaliaFiue conquestes which haue been in this Realme. Romanes, Scots, & Pictes, Saxons, Danes, Normandes.but were brought in as much subiectiō themselues vnder the Danes, as they had brought the Britanes before (and that much more) in somuch that through all England, if an English man had met a Dane vpon a bridge, he might not styre one foote, before the Lorde Dane (otherwise Lurdane) were past. And then if the English man had not geuen low reuerence to the Dane, at his commyng by, he was sure to be sharpely punished (with more) as aboue hath beene declared, page. 162. And this subiection almost continued from the reigne of k. Ethelwolfus. 230. yeares, till the reigne of k. Edward. And yet the indignation of God thus ceased not: but styrred vp the Normandes agaynst them, who conquered and altered the whole realme after their owne purpose, in so much that besides the innouation of the lawes, coignes, and possessions: there was in no Church of Englād almost any English Byshop, but only Normandes and foreiners placed through all their dioces.
MarginaliaEx Henr. Huntyngt. Lib. 6.To such misery was this land then brought vnto, that not onely of all the English nobilitie, not one house was standing: but also it was thought reprochfull to be called an English man. This punishment of God agaynst the English nation, writers do assigne diuersly to diuers causes (as partely before is touched) of whō some assigne this to be the cause, as foloweth in the wordes of the story:
MarginaliaEx histor. Iornalens.In primitiua Angliæ ecclesia religio clarissime splēduit, ita vt Reges & Regine, Duces & Episcopi, vel Monachatum, vel exilium pro Dei amore appeterent: procesiu vero temporis adeo omnis virtus in eis emarcuit, vt gentem nullam proditione & nequitia sibi parem esse permitterēt. &c. the meaning wherof is, þt where as kings & Queenes, Dukes, and Prelates in the primitiue time of the English church, were ready for Religion, to forsake either libertie or countrey, and giue themselues to a solitary life:
MarginaliaEngland afflicted and scourged for iniquitie.in proces of tyme they grew to such dissolutenes, that they left no other Realme like vnto thē in iniquitie. &c. Agayne some writyng of the vision of kyng Edward a litle before the inuasion of the Normandes: testifie, how the kyng reportyng of his own vision,
MarginaliaThe vision of kyng Edward.should heare, that for the great enormitie and misbehauiour of the head Dukes, Byshops, and Abbats of the realme: the kyngdome should be geuen to the hand of their enemyes, after the decease of him, for the space of a. C. yeares, and one day. Which spaces was also seene by William conquerour: to be a. C. yeares, and l: and that his progenie so long should continue.
MarginaliaEnglish mē scourged for their vniust oppression of the Britans.Agayne some writers entreatyng of this so great wrath of God vpon the English people, declare the cause therof, as foloweth: Nam sicut Angl. Britones, quos Deus disterminare proposuerat (peccatis suis exigentibus) humiliauerant, & a terra Angliæ minus iuste fugauerant: sic ipsi duplici persecutione. &c. Lyke as the Englishmen did subdue the Britons (whom God proposed, for their deseruyngs, to exterminate) and them vniustly did dispossesse of their land: so they should likewise be subdued and scourged with a double persecution, first by the Danes and after by the Normans. &c. Moreouer to these iniuries and iniquities done and wrought by the English men hitherto recited, let vs adde also the cruell vilanie of this nation in murderyng and tything of the innocent Normans before:
MarginaliaEnglishmē iustly scourged for their vniust cruelty against the Normandes.who commyng as straungers with Alfred and lawfull heyre of the crowne, were despitefully put to death. Which semeth to me no little cause, why the Lord (whose doinges be alwayes iust and right) did suffer the Normans so to preuayle. By the comming in of the which Normans, and by their quarell vnto the Realme,
MarginaliaThree thinges in this conquest to be noted.
Gods iust iudgement.
Lacke of succession.3. things we may note and learne. First to consider and learne the righteous retribution and wrath of God from heauen vpon all iniquitie and vnrightuous dealyng of men. Secondly we may therby note, what it is for Princes to leaue no issue or sure succession behinde them. Thirdly, what