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William the Conqueror By Edward A. Freeman Characters: 35139

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:06

December 1066-March 1070.

The coronation of William had its effect in a moment. It made him really king over part of England; it put him into a new position with regard to the rest. As soon as there was a king, men flocked to swear oaths to him and become his men. They came from shires where he had no real authority. It was most likely now, rather than at Berkhampstead, that Edwin and Morkere at last made up their minds to acknowledge some king. They became William's men and received again their lands and earldoms as his grant. Other chief men from the North also submitted and received their lands and honours again. But Edwin and Morkere were not allowed to go back to their earldoms. William thought it safer to keep them near himself, under the guise of honour-Edwin was even promised one of his daughters in marriage-but really half as prisoners, half as hostages. Of the two other earls, Waltheof son of Siward, who held the shires of Northampton and Huntingdon, and Oswulf who held the earldom of Bernicia or modern Northumberland, we hear nothing at this moment. As for Waltheof, it is strange if he were not at Senlac; it is strange if he were there and came away alive. But we only know that he was in William's allegiance a few months later. Oswulf must have held out in some marked way. It was William's policy to act as king even where he had no means of carrying out his kingly orders. He therefore in February 1067 granted the Bernician earldom to an Englishman named Copsige, who had acted as Tostig's lieutenant. This implies the formal deprivation of Oswulf. But William sent no force with the new earl, who had to take possession as he could. That is to say, of two parties in a local quarrel, one hoped to strengthen itself by making use of William's name. And William thought that it would strengthen his position to let at least his name be heard in every corner of the kingdom. The rest of the story stands rather aloof from the main history. Copsige got possession of the earldom for a moment. He was then killed by Oswulf and his partisans, and Oswulf himself was killed in the course of the year by a common robber. At Christmas, 1067, William again granted or sold the earldom to another of the local chiefs, Gospatric. But he made no attempt to exercise direct authority in those parts till the beginning of the year 1069.

All this illustrates William's general course. Crowned king over the land, he would first strengthen himself in that part of the kingdom which he actually held. Of the passive disobedience of other parts he would take no present notice. In northern and central England William could exercise no authority; but those lands were not in arms against him, nor did they acknowledge any other king. Their earls, now his earls, were his favoured courtiers. He could afford to be satisfied with this nominal kingship, till a fit opportunity came to make it real. He could afford to lend his name to the local enterprise of Copsige. It would at least be another count against the men of Bernicia that they had killed the earl whom King William gave them.

Meanwhile William was taking very practical possession in the shires where late events had given him real authority. His policy was to assert his rights in the strongest form, but to show his mildness and good will by refraining from carrying them out to the uttermost. By right of conquest William claimed nothing. He had come to take his crown, and he had unluckily met with some opposition in taking it. The crown lands of King Edward passed of course to his successor. As for the lands of other men, in William's theory all was forfeited to the crown. The lawful heir had been driven to seek his kingdom in arms; no Englishman had helped him; many Englishmen had fought against him. All then were directly or indirectly traitors. The King might lawfully deal with the lands of all as his own. But in the greater part of the kingdom it was impossible, in no part was it prudent, to carry out this doctrine in its fulness. A passage in Domesday, compared with a passage in the English Chronicles, shows that, soon after William's coronation, the English as a body, within the lands already conquered, redeemed their lands. They bought them back at a price, and held them as a fresh grant from King William. Some special offenders, living and dead, were exempted from this favour. The King took to himself the estates of the house of Godwine, save those of Edith, the widow of his revered predecessor, whom it was his policy to treat with all honour. The lands too of those who had died on Senlac were granted back to their heirs only of special favour, sometimes under the name of alms. Thus, from the beginning of his reign, William began to make himself richer than any king that had been before him in England or than any other Western king of his day. He could both punish his enemies and reward his friends. Much of what he took he kept; much he granted away, mainly to his foreign followers, but sometimes also to Englishmen who had in any way won his favour. Wiggod of Wallingford was one of the very few Englishmen who kept and received estates which put them alongside of the great Norman landowners. The doctrine that all land was held of the King was now put into a practical shape. All, Englishmen and strangers, not only became William's subjects, but his men and his grantees. Thus he went on during his whole reign. There was no sudden change from the old state of things to the new. After the general redemption of lands, gradually carried out as William's power advanced, no general blow was dealt at Englishmen as such. They were not, like some conquered nations, formally degraded or put under any legal incapacities in their own land. William simply distinguished between his loyal and his disloyal subjects, and used his opportunities for punishing the disloyal and rewarding the loyal. Such punishments and rewards naturally took the shape of confiscations and grants of land. If punishment was commonly the lot of the Englishman, and reward was the lot of the stranger, that was only because King William treated all men as they deserved. Most Englishmen were disloyal; most strangers were loyal. But disloyal strangers and loyal Englishmen fared according to their deserts. The final result of this process, begun now and steadily carried on, was that, by the end of William's reign, the foreign king was surrounded by a body of foreign landowners and office-bearers of foreign birth. When, in the early days of his conquest, he gathered round him the great men of his realm, it was still an English assembly with a sprinkling of strangers. By the end of his reign it had changed, step by step, into an assembly of strangers with a sprinkling of Englishmen.

This revolution, which practically transferred the greater part of the soil of England to the hands of strangers, was great indeed. But it must not be mistaken for a sudden blow, for an irregular scramble, for a formal proscription of Englishmen as such. William, according to his character and practice, was able to do all this gradually, according to legal forms, and without drawing any formal distinction between natives and strangers. All land was held of the King of the English, according to the law of England. It may seem strange how such a process of spoliation, veiled under a legal fiction, could have been carried out without resistance. It was easier because it was gradual and piecemeal. The whole country was not touched at once, nor even the whole of any one district. One man lost his land while his neighbour kept his, and he who kept his land was not likely to join in the possible plots of the other. And though the land had never seen so great a confiscation, or one so largely for the behoof of foreigners, yet there was nothing new in the thing itself. Danes had settled under Cnut, and Normans and other Frenchmen under Edward. Confiscation of land was the everyday punishment for various public and private crimes. In any change, such as we should call a change of ministry, as at the fall and the return of Godwine, outlawry and forfeiture of lands was the usual doom of the weaker party, a milder doom than the judicial massacres of later ages. Even a conquest of England was nothing new, and William at this stage contrasted favourably with Cnut, whose early days were marked by the death of not a few. William, at any rate since his crowning, had shed the blood of no man. Men perhaps thought that things might have been much worse, and that they were not unlikely to mend. Anyhow, weakened, cowed, isolated, the people of the conquered shires submitted humbly to the Conqueror's will. It needed a kind of oppression of which William himself was never guilty to stir them into actual revolt.

The provocation was not long in coming. Within three months after his coronation, William paid a visit to his native duchy. The ruler of two states could not be always in either; he owed it to his old subjects to show himself among them in his new character; and his absence might pass as a sign of the trust he put in his new subjects. But the means which he took to secure their obedience brought out his one weak point. We cannot believe that he really wished to goad the people into rebellion; yet the choice of his lieutenants might seem almost like it. He was led astray by partiality for his brother and for his dearest friend. To Bishop Ode of Bayeux, and to William Fitz-Osbern, the son of his early guardian, he gave earldoms, that of Kent to Odo, that of Hereford to William. The Conqueror was determined before all things that his kingdom should be united and obedient; England should not be split up like Gaul and Germany; he would have no man in England whose formal homage should carry with it as little of practical obedience as his own homage to the King of the French. A Norman earl of all Wessex or all Mercia might strive after such a position. William therefore forsook the old practice of dividing the whole kingdom into earldoms. In the peaceful central shires he would himself rule through his sheriffs and other immediate officers; he would appoint earls only in dangerous border districts where they were needed as military commanders. All William's earls were in fact marquesses, guardians of a march or frontier. Ode had to keep Kent against attacks from the continent; William Fitz-Osbern had to keep Herefordshire against the Welsh and the independent English. This last shire had its own local warfare. William's authority did not yet reach over all the shires beyond London and Hereford; but Harold had allowed some of Edward's Norman favourites to keep power there. Hereford then and part of its shire formed an isolated part of William's dominions, while the lands around remained unsubdued. William Fitz-Osbern had to guard this dangerous land as earl. But during the King's absence both he and Ode received larger commissions as viceroys over the whole kingdom. Ode guarded the South and William the North and North-East. Norwich, a town dangerous from its easy communication with Denmark, was specially under his care. The nominal earls of the rest of the land, Edwin, Morkere, and Waltheof, with Edgar, King of a moment, Archbishop Stigand, and a number of other chief men, William took with him to Normandy. Nominally his cherished friends and guests, they went in truth, as one of the English Chroniclers calls them, as hostages.

William's stay in Normandy lasted about six months. It was chiefly devoted to rejoicings and religious ceremonies, but partly to Norman legislation. Rich gifts from the spoils of England were given to the churches of Normandy; gifts richer still were sent to the Church of Rome whose favour had wrought so much for William. In exchange for the banner of Saint Peter, Harold's standard of the Fighting-man was sent as an offering to the head of all churches. While William was in Normandy, Archbishop Maurilius of Rouen died. The whole duchy named Lanfranc as his successor; but he declined the post, and was himself sent to Rome to bring the pallium for the new archbishop John, a kinsman of the ducal house. Lanfranc doubtless refused the see of Rouen only because he was designed for a yet greater post in England; the subtlest diplomatist in Europe was not sent to Rome merely to ask for the pallium for Archbishop John.

Meanwhile William's choice of lieutenants bore its fruit in England. They wrought such oppression as William himself never wrought. The inferior leaders did as they thought good, and the two earls restrained them not. The earls meanwhile were in one point there faithfully carrying out the policy of their master in the building of castles; a work, which specially when the work of Ode and William Fitz-Osbern, is always spoken of by the native writers with marked horror. The castles were the badges and the instruments of the Conquest, the special means of holding the land in bondage. Meanwhile tumults broke forth in various parts. The slaughter of Copsige, William's earl in Northumberland, took place about the time of the King's sailing for Normandy. In independent Herefordshire the leading Englishman in those parts, Eadric, whom the Normans called the Wild, allied himself with the Welsh, harried the obedient lands, and threatened the castle of Hereford. Nothing was done on either side beyond harrying and skirmishes; but Eadric's corner of the land remained unsubdued. The men of Kent made a strange foreign alliance with Eustace of Boulogne, the brother-in-law of Edward, the man whose deeds had led to the great movement of Edward's reign, to the banishment and the return of Godwine. He had fought against England on Senlac, and was one of four who had dealt the last blow to the wounded Harold. But the oppression of Ode made the Kentishmen glad to seek any help against him. Eustace, now William's enemy, came over, and gave help in an unsuccessful attack on Dover castle. Meanwhile in the obedient shires men were making ready for revolt; in the unsubdued lands they were making ready for more active defence. Many went beyond sea to ask for foreign help, specially in the kindred lands of Denmark and Northern Germany. Against this threatening movement William's strength lay in the incapacity of his enemies for combined action. The whole land never rose at once, and Danish help did not come at the times or in the shape when it could have done most good.

The news of these movements brought William back to England in December. He kept the Midwinter feast and assembly at Westminster; there the absent Eustace was, by a characteristic stroke of policy, arraigned as a traitor. He was a foreign prince against whom the Duke of the Normans might have led a Norman army. But he had also become an English landowner, and in that character he was accountable to the King and Witan of England. He suffered the traitor's punishment of confiscation of lands. Afterwards he contrived to win back William's favour, and he left great English possessions to his second wife and his son. Another stroke of policy was to send an embassy to Denmark, to ward off the hostile purposes of Swegen, and to choose as ambassador an English prelate who had been in high favour with both Edward and Harold, ?thelsige, Abbot of Ramsey. It came perhaps of his mission that Swegen practically did nothing for two years. The envoy's own life was a chequered one. He lost William's favour, and sought shelter in Denmark. He again regained William's favour-perhaps by some service at the Danish court-and died in possession of his abbey.

It is instructive to see how in this same assembly William bestowed several great offices. The earldom of Northumberland was vacant by the slaughter of two earls, the bishopric of Dorchester by the peaceful death of its bishop. William had no real authority in any part of Northumberland, or in more than a small part of the diocese of Dorchester. But he dealt with both earldom and bishopric as in his own power. It was now that he granted Northumberland to Gospatric. The appointment to the bishopric was the beginning of a new system. Englishmen were now to give way step by step to strangers in the highest offices and greatest estates of the land. He had already made two Norman earls, but they were to act as military commanders. He now made an English earl, whose earldom was likely to be either nominal or fatal. The appointment of Remigius of Fécamp to the see of Dorchester was of more real importance. It is the beginning of William's ecclesiastical reign, the first step in William's scheme of making the Church his instrument in keeping down the conquered. While William lived, no Englishman was appointed to a bishopric. As bishoprics became vacant by death, foreigners were nominated, and excuses were often found for hastening a vacancy by deprivation. At the end of William's reign one English bishop only was left. With abbots, as having less temporal power than bishops, the rule was less strict. Foreigners were preferred, but Englishmen were not wholly shut out. And the general process of confiscation and regrant of lands was vigorously carried out. The Kentish revolt and the general movement must have led to many forfeitures and to further grants to loyal men of either nation. As the English Chronicles pithily puts it, "the King gave away every man's land."

William could soon grant lands in new parts of England. In February 1068 he for the first time went forth to warfare wit

h those whom he called his subjects, but who had never submitted to him. In the course of the year a large part of England was in arms against him. But there was no concert; the West rose and the North rose; but the West rose first, and the North did not rise till the West had been subdued. Western England threw off the purely passive state which had lasted through the year 1067. Hitherto each side had left the other alone. But now the men of the West made ready for a more direct opposition to the foreign government. If they could not drive William out of what he had already won, they would at least keep him from coming any further. Exeter, the greatest city of the West, was the natural centre of resistance; the smaller towns, at least of Devonshire and Dorset entered into a league with the capital. They seem to have aimed, like Italian cities in the like case, at the formation of a civic confederation, which might perhaps find it expedient to acknowledge William as an external lord, but which would maintain perfect internal independence. Still, as Gytha, widow of Godwine, mother of Harold, was within the walls of Exeter, the movement was doubtless also in some sort on behalf of the House of Godwine. In any case, Exeter and the lands and towns in its alliance with Exeter strengthened themselves in every way against attack.

Things were not now as on the day of Senlac, when Englishmen on their own soil withstood one who, however he might cloke his enterprise, was to them simply a foreign invader. But William was not yet, as he was in some later struggles, the de facto king of the whole land, whom all had acknowledged, and opposition to whom was in form rebellion. He now held an intermediate position. He was still an invader; for Exeter had never submitted to him; but the crowned King of the English, peacefully ruling over many shires, was hardly a mere invader; resistance to him would have the air of rebellion in the eyes of many besides William and his flatterers. And they could not see, what we plainly see, what William perhaps dimly saw, that it was in the long run better for Exeter, or any other part of England, to share, even in conquest, the fate of the whole land, rather than to keep on a precarious independence to the aggravation of the common bondage. This we feel throughout; William, with whatever motive, is fighting for the unity of England. We therefore cannot seriously regret his successes. But none the less honour is due to the men whom the duty of the moment bade to withstand him. They could not see things as we see them by the light of eight hundred years.

The movement evidently stirred several shires; but it is only of Exeter that we hear any details. William never used force till he had tried negotiation. He sent messengers demanding that the citizens should take oaths to him and receive him within their walls. The choice lay now between unconditional submission and valiant resistance. But the chief men of the city chose a middle course which could gain nothing. They answered as an Italian city might have answered a Swabian Emperor. They would not receive the King within their walls; they would take no oaths to him; but they would pay him the tribute which they had paid to earlier kings. That is, they would not have him as king, but only as overlord over a commonwealth otherwise independent. William's answer was short; "It is not my custom to take subjects on those conditions." He set out on his march; his policy was to overcome the rebellious English by the arms of the loyal English. He called out the fyrd, the militia, of all or some of the shires under his obedience. They answered his call; to disobey it would have needed greater courage than to wield the axe on Senlac. This use of English troops became William's custom in all his later wars, in England and on the mainland; but of course he did not trust to English troops only. The plan of the campaign was that which had won Le Mans and London. The towns of Dorset were frightfully harried on the march to the capital of the West. Disunion at once broke out; the leading men in Exeter sent to offer unconditional submission and to give hostages. But the commonalty disowned the agreement; notwithstanding the blinding of one of the hostages before the walls, they defended the city valiantly for eighteen days. It was only when the walls began to crumble away beneath William's mining-engines that the men of Exeter at last submitted to his mercy. And William's mercy could be trusted. No man was harmed in life, limb, or goods. But, to hinder further revolts, a castle was at once begun, and the payments made by the city to the King were largely raised.

Gytha, when the city yielded, withdrew to the Steep Holm, and thence to Flanders. Her grandsons fled to Ireland; from thence, in the course of the same year and the next, they twice landed in Somerset and Devonshire. The Irish Danes who followed them could not be kept back from plunder. Englishmen as well as Normans withstood them, and the hopes of the House of Godwine came to an end.

On the conquest of Exeter followed the submission of the whole West. All the land south of the Thames was now in William's obedience. Gloucestershire seems to have submitted at the same time; the submission of Worcestershire is without date. A vast confiscation of lands followed, most likely by slow degrees. Its most memorable feature is that nearly all Cornwall was granted to William's brother Robert Count of Mortain. His vast estate grew into the famous Cornish earldom and duchy of later times. Southern England was now conquered, and, as the North had not stirred during the stirring of the West, the whole land was outwardly at peace. William now deemed it safe to bring his wife to share his new greatness. The Duchess Matilda came over to England, and was hallowed to Queen at Westminster by Archbishop Ealdred. We may believe that no part of his success gave William truer pleasure. But the presence of the Lady was important in another way. It was doubtless by design that she gave birth on English soil to her youngest son, afterwards the renowned King Henry the First. He alone of William's children was in any sense an Englishman. Born on English ground, son of a crowned King and his Lady, Englishmen looked on him as a countryman. And his father saw the wisdom of encouraging such a feeling. Henry, surnamed in after days the Clerk, was brought up with special care; he was trained in many branches of learning unusual among the princes of his age, among them in a thorough knowledge of the tongue of his native land.

The campaign of Exeter is of all William's English campaigns the richest in political teaching. We see how near the cities of England came for a moment-as we shall presently see a chief city of northern Gaul-to running the same course as the cities of Italy and Provence. Signs of the same tendency may sometimes be suspected elsewhere, but they are not so clearly revealed. William's later campaigns are of the deepest importance in English history; they are far richer in recorded personal actors than the siege of Exeter; but they hardly throw so much light on the character of William and his statesmanship. William is throughout ever ready, but never hasty-always willing to wait when waiting seems the best policy-always ready to accept a nominal success when there is a chance of turning it into a real one, but never accepting nominal success as a cover for defeat, never losing an inch of ground without at once taking measures to recover it. By this means, he has in the former part of 1068 extended his dominion to the Land's End; before the end of the year he extends it to the Tees. In the next year he has indeed to win it back again; but he does win it back and more also. Early in 1070 he was at last, in deed as well as in name, full King over all England.

The North was making ready for war while the war in the West went on, but one part of England did nothing to help the other. In the summer the movement in the North took shape. The nominal earls Edwin, Morkere, and Gospatric, with the ?theling Edgar and others, left William's court to put themselves at the head of the movement. Edwin was specially aggrieved, because the king had promised him one of his daughters in marriage, but had delayed giving her to him. The English formed alliances with the dependent princes of Wales and Scotland, and stood ready to withstand any attack. William set forth; as he had taken Exeter, he took Warwick, perhaps Leicester. This was enough for Edwin and Morkere. They submitted, and were again received to favour. More valiant spirits withdrew northward, ready to defend Durham as the last shelter of independence, while Edgar and Gospatric fled to the court of Malcolm of Scotland. William went on, receiving the submission of Nottingham and York; thence he turned southward, receiving on his way the submission of Lincoln, Cambridge, and Huntingdon. Again he deemed it his policy to establish his power in the lands which he had already won rather than to jeopard matters by at once pressing farther. In the conquered towns he built castles, and he placed permanent garrisons in each district by granting estates to his Norman and other followers. Different towns and districts suffered in different degrees, according doubtless to the measure of resistance met with in each. Lincoln and Lincolnshire were on the whole favourably treated. An unusual number of Englishmen kept lands and offices in city and shire. At Leicester and Northampton, and in their shires, the wide confiscations and great destruction of houses point to a stout resistance. And though Durham was still untouched, and though William had assuredly no present purpose of attacking Scotland, he found it expedient to receive with all favour a nominal submission brought from the King of Scots by the hands of the Bishop of Durham.

If William's policy ever seems less prudent than usual, it was at the beginning of the next year, 1069. The extreme North still stood out. William had twice commissioned English earls of Northumberland to take possession if they could. He now risked the dangerous step of sending a stranger. Robert of Comines was appointed to the earldom forfeited by the flight of Gospatric. While it was still winter, he went with his force to Durham. By help of the Bishop, he was admitted into the city, but he and his whole force were cut off by the people of Durham and its neighbourhood. Robert's expedition in short led only to a revolt of York, where Edgar was received and siege was laid to the castle. William marched in person with all speed; he relieved the castle; he recovered the city and strengthened it by a second castle on the other side of the river. Still he thought it prudent to take no present steps against Durham. Soon after this came the second attempt of Harold's sons in the West.

Later in this year William's final warfare for the kingdom began. In August, 1069 the long-promised help from Denmark came. Swegen sent his brother Osbeorn and his sons Harold and Cnut, at the head of the whole strength of Denmark and of other Northern lands. If the two enterprises of Harold's sons had been planned in concert with their Danish kinsmen, the invaders or deliverers from opposite sides had failed to act together. Nor are Swegen's own objects quite clear. He sought to deliver England from William and his Normans, but it is not so plain in whose interest he acted. He would naturally seek the English crown for himself or for one of his sons; the sons of Harold he would rather make earls than kings. But he could feel no interest in the kingship of Edgar. Yet, when the Danish fleet entered the Humber, and the whole force of the North came to meet it, the English host had the heir of Cerdic at its head. It is now that Waltheof the son of Siward, Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, first stands out as a leading actor. Gospatric too was there; but this time not Edwin and Morkere. Danes and English joined and marched upon York; the city was occupied; the castles were taken; the Norman commanders were made prisoners, but not till they had set fire to the city and burned the greater part of it, along with the metropolitan minster. It is amazing to read that, after breaking down the castles, the English host dispersed, and the Danish fleet withdrew into the Humber.

England was again ruined by lack of concert. The news of the coming of the Danes led only to isolated movements which were put down piecemeal. The men of Somerset and Dorset and the men of Devonshire and Cornwall were put down separately, and the movement in Somerset was largely put down by English troops. The citizens of Exeter, as well as the Norman garrison of the castle, stood a siege on behalf of William. A rising on the Welsh border under Eadric led only to the burning of Shrewsbury; a rising in Staffordshire was held by William to call for his own presence. But he first marched into Lindesey, and drove the crews of the Danish ships across into Holderness; there he left two Norman leaders, one of them his brother Robert of Mortain and Cornwall; he then went westward and subdued Staffordshire, and marched towards York by way of Nottingham. A constrained delay by the Aire gave him an opportunity for negotiation with the Danish leaders. Osbeorn took bribes to forsake the English cause, and William reached and entered York without resistance. He restored the castles and kept his Christmas in the half-burned city. And now William forsook his usual policy of clemency. The Northern shires had been too hard to win. To weaken them, he decreed a merciless harrying of the whole land, the direct effects of which were seen for many years, and which left its mark on English history for ages. Till the growth of modern industry reversed the relative position of Northern and Southern England, the old Northumbrian kingdom never fully recovered from the blow dealt by William, and remained the most backward part of the land. Herein comes one of the most remarkable results of William's coming. His greatest work was to make England a kingdom which no man henceforth thought of dividing. But the circumstances of his conquest of Northern England ruled that for several centuries the unity of England should take the form of a distinct preponderance of Southern England over Northern. William's reign strengthened every tendency that way, chiefly by the fearful blow now dealt to the physical strength and well-being of the Northern shires. From one side indeed the Norman Conquest was truly a Saxon conquest. The King of London and Winchester became more fully than ever king over the whole land.

The Conqueror had now only to gather in what was still left to conquer. But, as military exploits, none are more memorable than the winter marches which put William into full possession of England. The lands beyond Tees still held out; in January 1070 he set forth to subdue them. The Earls Waltheof and Gospatric made their submission, Waltheof in person, Gospatric by proxy. William restored both of them to their earldoms, and received Waltheof to his highest favour, giving him his niece Judith in marriage. But he systematically wasted the land, as he had wasted Yorkshire. He then returned to York, and thence set forth to subdue the last city and shire that held out. A fearful march led him to the one remaining fragment of free England, the unconquered land of Chester. We know not how Chester fell; but the land was not won without fighting, and a frightful harrying was the punishment. In all this we see a distinct stage of moral downfall in the character of the Conqueror. Yet it is thoroughly characteristic. All is calm, deliberate, politic. William will have no more revolts, and he will at any cost make the land incapable of revolt. Yet, as ever, there is no blood shed save in battle. If men died of hunger, that was not William's doing; nay, charitable people like Abbot ?thelwig of Evesham might do what they could to help the sufferers. But the lawful king, kept so long out of his kingdom, would, at whatever price, be king over the whole land. And the great harrying of the northern shires was the price paid for William's kingship over them.

At Chester the work was ended which had begun at Pevensey. Less than three years and a half, with intervals of peace, had made the Norman invader king over all England. He had won the kingdom; he had now to keep it. He had for seventeen years to deal with revolts on both sides of the sea, with revolts both of Englishmen and of his own followers. But in England his power was never shaken; in England he never knew defeat. His English enemies he had subdued; the Danes were allowed to remain and in some sort to help in his work by plundering during the winter. The King now marched to the Salisbury of that day, the deeply fenced hill of Old Sarum. The men who had conquered England were reviewed in the great plain, and received their rewards. Some among them had by failures of duty during the winter marches lost their right to reward. Their punishment was to remain under arms forty days longer than their comrades. William could trust himself to the very mutineers whom he had picked out for punishment. He had now to begin his real reign; and the champion of the Church had before all things to reform the evil customs of the benighted islanders, and to give them shepherds of their souls who might guide them in the right way.

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