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for chasing out their Kings) which time is called Hocktide, or Heuxtide, signifying a time of scorning and contempt, which fell upon the Danes by his death.
Edward II. of that name, before the conquest, half-brother to the deceased Hardy Canute, and son to King Ethelred, by Queen Emma his wife, succeeded him, and was called Edward the Confessor, between whom and Godwin, Earl of Kent, there happened such differences, that they raised forces against each other, and fitted out divers ships. King Edward appointed sixty ships for a guard to the Thames-mouth; but Godwin being a man of very great authority, solicited the people of Kent, Sussex, and Surry, to his aid, and entering the Thames with his ships, invited' the Londoners to join with him, which they accordingly did, though King Edward were in the city ; so that without resistance, his navy came up with the tide to the south end of London Bridge, and a very great army attended to aid him on Southwark side. The nobility observing the people to be divided into parties, and one Englishman ready to destroy another, they so prevailed with King Edward and Godwin, that they made a reconciliation between them, and pledges were delivered for the true performance of the agreement.
About this time, that is, in 1047, there fell a very great snow in January, which covered the groạnd to the middle of March, so that most of the cattle and fowl perished; and the year following a strange and terrible earthquake happened, which seemed to rend the earth asunder, and such lightnings withall, as burnt up the corn growing in the fields, whereby an extraordinary dearth and famine followed.
In the Year 1066, William the Conqueror landed at Pensey in Sussex, and immediately sent a messenger to King Harold at London, whereby he claimed no less than the Crown of England, upon pretence of a donation from King Edward, deceased : and required that Harold should be vassal to him. The messenger urged the same with so much confidence, that Harold in his fury could bardly forbear (though against the law of arms) to lay violent bands on the ambassador. And thereupon he returns a threatening message to William to depart immediately back into Normandy at his utmost peril. He then proceeds to müster his forces, which were not so many as he expected, though divers noblemen, gentlemen and others, who were inflamed 'with the love of the rights and liberties of their native country, joined with him to keep out this dangerous foreigner.
However, King Harold with an undaunted courage, led his men into Sussex, against the earnest intreaty of his mother, who endeavoured
to hinder him, and pitching his tents in a large fair plain, not above seven miles from the enemy, he sent forth his spies for discovery, who being taken by Duke William, he ordered that they should view all his tents, and then sent them safely back to Harold. They commended William's clemency, and his great strength, but told Harold, that they thought all his army were priests, for their beards were all shayed; whereas the use of the English was then to reserve the hair of the upper lip without cutting
King Harold replied, they were no priests, but men of great cou. rage and valour, to his knowledge: he having been formerly in that, country. Harold was thereupon persuaded not to venture himself in the baitle, but to go on to levy more soldiers. And his brother told him that William charged him that he had taken an oath to settle him in the throne; and, said he, thou knowest what oath thine own mouth hath made unto William, if it were lawful, and thou took it willingly, withdraw thyself out of the field, lest for thy great sin, the whole army be destroyed, for there is no power that can resist God. But Harold reproved his Brother for his freedom, and disdainfully undervalued the strength of the Normans, and seemed to conceive that nothing which he did, being a private man, 'could now bind him when he was a prince.
Duke Willian being now come into the field, and both armies facing each other, as ready for battle; to spare the effusion of christian blood, he sent a monk as mediator for peace, offering Harold either to resign the kingdom to himself, and acknowledge him his sovereign, or to try the quarrel in single battle, in the sight of both armies : or lastly, to stand to the arbitration of the Pope, who should wear the English crown. But Harold being destined to destruction, would neither accept the counsels of his friends, nor the offers of his enemies, but referred the decision to Heaven, saying, that it should be tried the next day with more swords than one.
Next day was the 14th of October, which upon a credulous error he always held to be fortunate to him, it being his birth day, and therefore he greatly desired to engage in fight. · His soldiers likewise dreaming of nothing but spoil and victory, and that their heads should be crowned with laurel, spent the preceding night in all manner of jollity, banquetting, revelling, and noise; whereas on the contrary, the Nor.. mans wisely and seriously considering the great importance of the work they were to engage in, applied themselves to their prayers and vows for the safety of their army, and its victorious success. And in
the morning as soon as it was light, they were all in battle array, and ready prepared to fight.
Harold likewise with all expedition marshalled his soldiers, placing the Kentish men in the van (according to an ancient custom)
with their heavy axes and halberts, the London and Middlesex men were in that squadron which he and his brother led.
The Normans advancing forward, discharged a fierce volley of arrows, like a tempestuous hail, which was a kind of weapon the English never understood, and therefore thought their enemies had been in the midst of them already. Soon after, the battle began in carnest. King Harold, like an expert general, had placed his men in so firm a body, that no force of the Normans could disorder their ranks, until Duke William used a stratagem, commanding his men to sound a retreat, and counterfeit flight, though he still kept them in goud order. The English supposing the Normans to have been fled, and themselves masters of the field, carelessly broke their ranks, when suddenly the Normans came on again, and fell upon them before they could put themselves in a posture for defence, whereby multitudes of them were slain on every side, not being able to make head again.
Yet did not the English leave the field, but resolved rather to maintain their honour in arms, and casting themselves in a round, they preferred dying for their country, rather than to forsake the standard of their King, and thereupon encouraging one another, they made resistance for a long time, but showers of arrows, like a mighty storm, falling among them, one of them most fatally, and unhappily for the English nation, wounded King Harold into the brains through the left eye; so that falling from his horse, be was slain under his own standard, and an ambush of horsemen cut many others to pieces.
Duke William fought so valiantly, that he had this day three horses slain under him, and King Harold shewed no less courage, in killing many Normans with his own hands. The mother of Harold named Thyra, offered a great sum of money for the King's body, which falling among such a multitude (it being reckoned that there died about threescore thousand men that day) it could by no means be found, for it was despoiled of all its royal ornaments by the plundering soldiers : so that King Harold lying stript, wounded, bemangled, and gored in his blood, could not be known from another man, till a lady named Editha was sent for, who for her extraordinary beauty was called Swan's Neck ; she having been very familiar with him before he was King, knew some secret mark in his body, by which he discovered
him. After which the Duke freely delivered it to his mother, and it was buried in Waltham Abbey.
This battle was fought October 14, 1060, a doleful day of destruction to the English, when the royal blood of the Saxons perished, who first divided this land into seven Kingdoms, and afterwards made of them one glorious monarchy, not inferior to any in Europe ; and whose kings for valour and magnanimity, were ranked with the greatest in the world. But the over-ruling providence of Heaven, which sets up and pulls down at pleasure, was pleased at this time, for the sins of the English, or some other cause unknown to us, to put the scepter into the hands of another family, and another nation.
Morcar and Edwin, brethren to the unfortunate Queen, escaped by night out of the battle, and came to London, where consulting with the rest of the lords, they began to revive their hopes, and posted mes. sengers from thence to raise new forces. And because the English were struck into a dreadful astonishment at the news of this great loss, they, to keep them from despair, sent them word, that the chance of war was uncertain, the number of the English yet many, and there were commanders enough left to try another battle. Alfred, archbishop of York, being president of the assembly, very courageously and prudently advised, that they should immediately proclaim and crown Edgar Atheling the true heir for their King ; to which the Londoners and divers sea captains agreed. But the Queen's brethren, and likewise the Earls of Yorkshire and Cheshire, being themselves ambitious of the crown, thought their country was in such a deplorable condition, hindered this wise and noble design.
In the twentieth year of William the Conqueror, there happened so great a fire in London, that from the west gate to the east, it consumed houses and churches all the way, and among the rest St. Paul's, as much as was combustible was burnt to ashes, and most of the principal cities in England were much damaged by fire. Other great calamities likewise happened, as burning fevers, murrains upon cattle, abundance of rain, and water-floods, insomuch that the hills seemed to be softened to the very foundation, and with their fall overwhelmed many villages, there was likewise such a dearth in London and England, that men eat horses, cats, dogs, and man's flesh.
In 1077, upon Palm Sunday. about noon, a blazing star appeared nigh the sun, yea, which is strange, tame fowls, such as hens, geese, peacocks, and the like, fled into forests and woods, and became wild. There was likewise a great frost, which lasted from the middle of
November to the middle of March. There was also a great wind on Christmas day, accompanied with a terrible earthquake.
This King William seized all the lands between Barnet and London, stone, which belonged to the Abbey of St. Albans; and also all the treasure, chalices, and shrines of all the abbies and monasteries in England. He likewise laid great taxes upon the land, and caused an exact survey to be taken of the whole kingdom: so that he knew the value of all the rents and profits of the lands, and likewise of all cities, towns, villages, hamlets, monasteries, and religious houses, causing all the people in England to be numbered, and their names taken, with an account of what every one could spend in the year. After which he exacted six shillings upon every hide of land, wbich amounted to a vast sum of money. The book which contained this actual survey, was called by the English Doomsday-book, and is kept to this day in the King's Exchequer at Westminster. Yet he was kind to the Londoners, suffering them to enjoy their rights and privileges which they had in Edward the Confessor's time, by the procurement of William, Bishop of London, who was buried in St. Paul's church, and this epitaph put upon his grave-stone in Latin and English : To William, a man famous in wisdom, and holiness of life, who first with St. Edward, the King and Confessor, being familiar, of late preferred to be Bishop of London, and not long after (for his prudence and sincere fidelity) admitted to be of council with the most victorious Prince William, King of England, of that name the first, who obtained of the same, great and large privileges to this famous city. The senate and citizens of London, of him having well deserved have made this. He continued bishop twenty years, and
died in the year of Christ's nativity, 1070,
These marble monuments to thee
Thy citizens assign,
To those deserts of thine ;
Thy London people found,
A stay both sure and sound;
By means of thee have been.
Large gifts have felt and found,