Capitulum octavum decimum.
THIS kynge Henricus the firste dedde, Steven erle of Bonony, sonne of the erle Blessense, did succede, whiche reignede xvij. yere, a myȝhty man and a bolde, and was crownede into the kynge at London of William archebischoppe of Cawnterbery, ageyne the othe and promise made to the emprice; wherefore Page 481, vol.7 the seide metropolitan diede in the yere folowynge. And also alle noble men makenge fidelite to the seide kynge had an ylle ende. Also hit is seide the sacramente evaneschede awey in the day of his coronacion when hit was put towarde his mowthe. This Steven crownede into the kynge did swere afore the gen|tille [folio 355a] men at Oxenforde that he wolde remitte Danegeld, a certeyn tribute paiede to the Danes; whiche dredynge the com|mynge of the empresse grawntede also to the noble men of his realme to make towres and castells in theire awne grownde after theire pleasure; and soone after that he toke Excestre. William archebischoppe of Cawnterbury diede, whom Theo|baldus abbot Bectense did succede. Lotharius emperoure of Alemayne diede in this tyme; whom Conradus, duke of Bavar|ria, did succede, beynge emperour of Rome also by xv. yere. Thauȝhe this emperoure toke not benediccion off the pope, neverthelesse he, merkede with the signe of the crosse at the prechynge of seynte Bernarde abbot, did mony noble thynges Page 483, vol.7 in the Holy Londe. Giraldus, distinctione prima, capitulo xviijo. Theobaldus the blissede, erle of Company, was in this tyme, whiche usede to visitte poore peple, and men infecte with the lepre; whom a metricion commended after his dethe in this wise:
David kynge of Scottelond entrede Ynglonde the thrydde tyme, wastynge that londe unto the water of Teyse, brennynge in the costes abowte Yorke, and sleenge moche peple. But Thurstyn archebischop of Yorke, gedrenge an hoste secretely, and metynge the seide kynge, put hym to fliȝhte, sleynge x. ml of his hostes, and brouȝhte ageyne grete goodes taken from the cuntre. Kynge Steven, takynge the castelle of Bedforde, con|trarious to hym, wente to Scottelonde, and doynge noo thynge Page 485, vol.7 þer worþy commendacion, returnede to Ynglonde, and impri|soned Alexander bischop of Lincoln, unto the tyme that he hade taken to hym the castelle of Newerke. Also he chasede awey Nigellus bischop of Hely, and prisoned Rogerus bis|choppe of Salisbery, untille that he hade ȝiffen to hym ij. castelles of the Vies and of Shirburne. Wherethro that famous edifier of howses and of castells diede for sorowe, levynge in his castells xlti ml marke, whiche summe was not spende in the servyce of God, but at the use of the kynge. With whiche treasure kynge Steven mariede Constancia, suster to the kynge of Fraunce, to his sonne Eustachius. Thurstyne, archebischop [folio 355b] of Yorke, and the noble edifier of Hangustalde and of other viij. monasteryes, takynge the habite of a monke at Powntefrete, diede in a goode age; the body of whom was founde redolente and incorrupte by ij. yere after his dethe. After that kynge Steven toke the castells of Gloucestre, of Herforde, of Walkely, Bristowe, of Dudley, and of Salisbery. Robert erle of Glowces|tre Page 487, vol.7 perceyvyng that, sende to Matilda thempresse, promisynge to hir helpe ageyne the kynge. Henricus, libro octavo. The seide Robert and the empresse comen to Portesmude in the monethe of Julius, and after that to Bristowe, where thei did grete hurte to peple of that province. The kynge herynge that, lefte the segenge of the castelle of Walyngeforde, and segede Lincolne. Wherefore Ranulphus erle of Chestre, and Robert erle of Gloucestre, come with mony men of Wales to dissolve that sege, and a marres fulle of redes passed over, and the wardes of theire batelle sette in ordre, the erle of Chestre seide that he scholde be the formaste man in that day to putte his body in perelle. To whom Robert the erle of Gloucestre seide, "Hit is not inconveniente to yow to desire the dignite of the fyrste stroke, bothe for the nobilite of youre bloode and for the vertu of strength, in whom ye precelle other men. Page 489, vol.7 But the cruellenesse of the kynge and perjury move me to fiȝhte ageyne hym, for hit is not to returne by that way we come, other lete us have victory here or lete us dye. For hit is necessary to a man to flee to manhode that hathe noon oþer socoure. But attende ageyne what men we schalle fiȝhte:the erle of Mellent stondethe ageyne us, the crafty man of dis|seyte, which hathe of properte wikkidnesse in hert, falsenesse in tunge, and slawthe in his dedes. Also the erle Albemarle wyne drunke, havynge noo crafte in batelle, and Symon of the province of Hampton is þer, whose promise is a ȝifte, and his doynge but as wynde, whiche hathe done when he hathe seide, and hathe ȝiffen when hathe promysede." Kynge Steven in his perelle herde masse, Alexander bischop of Lincolne seyenge masse afore hym; and the kynge offrenge Page 491, vol.7 his taper, hit brake anoon betwene þe hondes of the bischop; and the pix, in whom the sacramente was contenede, brekynge the chene, did falle, whiche was a pronosticacion contrary to [folio 356a] the victory of the kynge. Anoon after that the hostes joynede to gedre, moche peple was overthrowe; the kynge was taken and brouȝhte to the empresse, and was kepede in prison from the feste of þe Purificacion unto the Exaltacion of the holy Page 493, vol.7 Crosse. The empresse joyenge moche of that victory, occupiede anoon Ciciter, after that Wynchestre, where sche was receyvede with a procession by approbacion of a legate. After that sche goynge to Oxforde, Radynge, and to Kente, was receyvede with grete honoure of Theobaldus metropolitan. After that the empresse commen to London to trete of the state of the realme, was movede by the wife of kynge Steven that the realme restorede to the empresse, the kynge myȝhte be losede from prison, this condicion putte, that either he scholde be made a monke, or elles travayle in pilgremage by alle the tyme of his lyfe. But the empresse wolde not here this peticion. Never|thelesse the citesynnes of London made supplicacion that they myȝhte use the lawes of seynte Edwarde, and not the lawes of here fader, in that thei were more streyte; but sche wolde not condescende þerto. The peple trowblede þerwith intended to have taken her, but sche havynge knowlege þerof, and levynge the stuffe of howseholde, fledde to Oxenforde to abide her knyȝhtes that were dispersede. After that sche takenge her Page 495, vol.7 uncle with her, David kynge of Scottes, with a grete nowmbre of knyȝhtes, wente to Wynchestre, segynge soore the towre longynge to the bischop, where the broþer of kynge Steven was. But the qwene commynge with William Yprense, the empresse was so afrayede that sche was putte on a bere as sche hade be dedde, and brouȝhte with horses to Gloucestre as sche scholde have bene beryede þer. Robert the erle her broþer was taken and putte in prison. At the laste the qwene laborynge for the kynge, and the empresse for her broþer, this promision was hade, that the kynge scholde be restorede to his realme, and þe erle to his lordeschippe, and that thei bothe scholde be governoures of the realme, lyke as thei hade causede grete trowble in hit. But the erle forsakynge that, myche manslauȝhter and robbynge was in the realme by alle that yere. Neverthelesse the kynge delyverede from prison abowte the feste of Exaltacion of the [folio 356b] hooly Crosse, segede the empresse in the cite of Oxenforde from the feste of seynte Michell unto Cristemasse. But at the Page 497, vol.7 laste the empresse, clothed in white clothes, wente over the yse on Thamys in a grete snawe unto Walyngforde; so the siȝhte of the peple segenge that cite was deludede by the reverberation of snawe: and so the cite of Oxenforde was restorede and yolden to the kynge. Abowte this tyme a maister Arnald by name prechede at Rome ageyne ryche men, and ageyne the superfluite of men, where thro mony peple folowede hym, but at the laste he was taken and honged in the despite of prestes. In whiche yere John of tymes dyed, whiche hade lyvede ccclxj. yere, somme tyme esqwier to grete kynge Charls.