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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 19

conquest, but as a gift from the English people. Before placing the crown upon the head of the royal duke, the officiating prelate paused, and addressing the English nobles, demanded,— " Are you willing to accept "William, Duke of Normandy, as your king?" The English answered with deafening shouts of assent, "which," says a learned chronicler, "so shook the abbey, that a scaffold, and twenty knights that sat thereon, were bestrewed on the ground in a woful plight." When silence returned, the prelate addressed the same question to the Norman nobles, whose acclamations of approbation were loud and long as those of the English. "Now," exclaimed the patriotic prelate, addressing William, in a loud clear voice, " Will you swear to maintain the rights and interest of the church ; to respect the ancient laws and customs of the nation ; to render justice equally to all, and to govern the English and the Normans by the same laws r" The Duke, surprised at the prelate's boldness, in making such an unexpected demand, hesitated, but, seeing no alternative, he, after a short pause, loudly answered,— " I swear!" The oath was then administered, and the royal Duke crowned amidst acclamations so continuous and vehement, that the Norman troops with which William had surrounded the abbey, to guard against treachery, became alarmed for the safety of their royal master, and commenced an onslaught upon the populace, who vigorously returned the charge, when a fearful riot ensued, and in the melee the houses near the abbey caught fire, and the flames spread with such rapidity, that only with great difficulty was the sacred edifice, with all the noble company therein, saved from destruction in the conflagration. Matilda appears to have ruled Normandy with great ability and success during the absence of her royal lord. Weakened as the government was by the wealthy and the powerful having gone •Ό support her husband's cause in Eng ûnd,thc duchy, during Matilda's regency, was neither disturbed by rebellion, nor war from without. Peace reigned ; tho arts and learning flourished ; and civilization and refinement advanced. When Matilda received theglad tidings of the victory at Hastings, she was at prayers in the chapel of the Benedictine priory of Notre Dame, which, in commemoration of the event, she caused to he afterwards called "The Church of our Lady of Good News." On returning from the chapel, Matilda wrote a congratulatory letter to the Conqueror, and, with a spirit of deadly revenge that will ever tarnish her otherwise fair fame, requested, wc believe, in the same dispatch, the imprisonment, or, as some writers assert, the death of iìrithric, the unfortunate lord of Gloucester. History is not decided as to whether Matilda actually commanded Brithric's death, but certain it is, that shortly after William had received her congratulatory dispatch, tho ill-fated lord was seized, deprived of his lands, and imprisoned in Winchester Castle, where he shortly afterwards died, or, as there is too much reason to believe, was murdered, as his body was privately buried. Thus, it appears, that she who was always an affectionate wife, a fond mother, a sincere friend, and, for the times in which she lived—revenge in those days being considered meritorious—a deeply religious, a virtuous, and a liberal-minded lady, persecuted, even unto the grave, the man whose only crime was that of having, years back, rejected her proffered maiden affections. Nor was her vengeance stayed by the death of her scorner. She even deprived the city of Gloucester of its charter, and brought ruin to the homes of its inhabitants, for no other reason, apparently, except that they had wept at the fate of their lord. William bestowed all Brithric's lands and possessions upon his royal consort,' which, when she died, reverted to the crown, and were conferred by the Conqueror upon his second son, WilhamRufus. Shortly after his coronation, William, distrusting the loyalty of the Londoners, retired to Banking, in Essex, where, surrounded by his trusty followers, he tuld his court, and received the honuige of

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