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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 56

tation of the lay nobles, the bishops had built, fortified, and garrisoned strong castles, which so greatly annoyed Stephen, that he now endeavoured, with a mighty blow of his royal sceptre, at once to reduce the pride of the prelates, and deprive them of their strongholds. Hut the attempt, weak as it was futile, cost him that crown which, but for the haughty intolerance of his royal rival, the Empress, he never again would have worn. CHAPTER II. The Empress Matilda lands in England and claims the crown—Queen Matilda goesabroad—Her son Eustace married to Constance of France—She sends over a host of foreign soldiers—Civil war rages—Stephen taken prisonci—Superstition of the Unies—Henry, Bishop of Winchester, supports the Empress—Boldness of the London citizens—The Queen's tetter to the synod—Her troubles—Her exertions to restore Stephen to liberty—Arrogance of the Empress—Her flight from London—The Bishop of Winchester renounces her cause—She besieges the Bishop—The Queen hastens to the Bishop's support—Defeat of the Empress—Capture of the Earl of Gloucester—Narrow escape of the Empress—King Eavid, disappointed and dis piritedy returns to Scotland. OBERT, Earl of Gloucester, believing the moment for striking a decisive blow had now arrived, boldly threw off his allegiance to Stephen, with a chal lenge of defiance, and prevailing on the Empress to land in England, strenuously endeavoured to enforce her royal rights, and hurl the usurper from the throne. On her arrival, Stephen's good stars were in the ascendancy, for, besides having possessed himself of the enormous wealth of the refractory Bishops of Salisbury, Lincoln, and Ely, he had seized on many of the strong castles of the turbulent barons. But although she had let the critical moment pass, Stephen was no more fortunate, for, by permitting her to depart from Arundel Castle, when he might have made her his prisoner, he heaped his head with a heavy load of future troubles. The landing of the Empress gave new courage to her partizans, who instantly unfurled their proud banners in her support; hut whilst, under the judicious guidance of the devoted Earl of Gloucester, her cause was daily gaining strength, the interests of Stephen were also being furthered by his affectionate queen, Matilda, who, having crossed the sea, brought about a marriage between her son, Eustace, and Constance, sister of the French King—Matilda paying a large sum to obtain the bride, and the French King, in return, investing Eustace with the dukedom of Normandy, and assisting him and his mother to maintain the ducal crown in defiance of the partizans of the Empress. Whilst Matilda was in Normandy, she sent over such a host of Breton and Flemish fighting men, that afterwards Stephen's army was composed almost wholly of foreigners. Such an array of foreign troops naturally excited the jealous alarms of the people, and greatly injured the cause they were intended to serve. In 1139, the opposing parties endeavoured to settle matters amicably, but their efforts were vain, as both Stephen and the Empress, relying on the relative strength of their positions, which, indeed, had not yet been tested by a single encounter of importance, determined not to relinquish the highlytempting prize of England's royal circlet without a desperate struggle. After a series of hot contests, the particulars of which belong rather to his

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