Capitulum vicesimum nonum.
THIS Harolde reioycynge the realme of Ynglonde, thouȝhte hym as free of that promyse made to William duke of Nor|mandy, in that the doȝhter of William, whom he scholde have mariede, diede with ynne yeres of mariage, and in that William duke of Normandy hade grete werre and batelles of cuntres nye to hym. Neverthelesse this duke sende to hym writeng pleasaunte in parte, and manassynge also, for the promyse broken that he made to hym. But Harolde sende to hym writynge ageyne, seyenge a presumptuous promisse not to be observede, and specially to hym of a strange realme with owte a generalle decrete of the londe; and also an othe or promyse made by foly to be broken, and specially coacte by necessite of tyme. Wherefore the seide duke instorethe a batelle, desirenge the favor of pope Alexander, whiche pope sende to hym licence to execute his purpose, with a baner also. ℞. The causes folowynge causede the seide duke to ȝiffe batelle ageyne Harolde. Page 235, vol.7 The firste was the dethe of Alfrede his cosyn, sonne to Emma somme tyme qwene of Ynglonde, caused by Harald. The secunde was for the owtelary of Robert archebischop of Cawn|terbery. The thrydde was for the promission of the succession made by kynge Edward, if he diede with owte childer, the same promise made to hym by Harold also. Henricus, libro sexto. The gentyllemen of Normandy takynge cownesaile of that viage to be made in Ynglonde, William the sonne of Usbertus, sewer to the duke, movede theim to leve that iourney, what for the fewe nowmbre of peple, and what for the cruelnesse. The seide gentillemen comfortede moche with that seyenge, seide utterly they wolde folowe the wille of the seide yonge man; this yonge man presentede to the duke seide that he was redy to þat iourney; the gentille men herynge that myȝhte not eny oþerwise for schame. Willielmus de Regibus, libro tertio. This duke William lyenge longe in the haven of Seynte Walericus for wynde, his peple grucchede moche, seyenge that hit was foly to Page 237, vol.7 usurpe the londes of oþer peple, God beynge contrarious to theyme and the wynde also. Wherefore William duke of Nor|mandy commaunded the body of seynte Walericus to be brouȝhte and sette þerowte; and anoon God sende to theyme a pleasaunte wynde, and so the seide duke toke londe at Pevenesey nye to Hastynge sone after the feste off seynt Michell. And in goynge from the schippe oon of his feete was fixede in the sonde. To whom a knyȝhte seide, "My lorde, now þou doste holde Yng|londe, [folio 334a] whereof þow schalle be kynge hastily." Then the seide duke commaunded his knyȝhtes to leve robbynge, contynuynge in those costes by xv. daies. Harolde returnede from the batelle ageyne men of Norway and herynge of the commynge of William duke of Normandy, made grete haste towarde this duke with a lytelle hoste, for he hade loste moche peple in the batelle afore|seide, and also moche departede from hym in þat he distribute not Page 239, vol.7 the goodes geten in that felde amonge his hoste. This Harolde sende certeyne men to serche and spye prively what nowmbre of men he hade in his hostes, the seide duke fyndynge theyme abowte his tentes, refreschede theyme with meyte and drynke, and sende theym to theire lorde. Whiche commynge to kynge Harolde, seide that the moste parte of his hoste stode by prestes, in that alle theire face was schaven in that maner at that tyme. But Harolde seide they were noo prestes, but myȝhty knyȝhtes. To whom Gurth his broþer seide, "My cownsaile is that ye goe not to the felde and we that have made noo promyse to hym schalle fiȝhte for the cuntre, and if we have victory welle be hit. If we be overcome thy mater schalle be goode ynowe, and thow may venge oure dethe aftirwarde." Then this William duke of Normandy sende a monke to Harolde, purposynge thre thynges, that he scholde avoide the realme, or elles to reigne under hym, or elles to prove the victory bytwene theyme tweyne, in that Page 241, vol.7 kynge Edwarde grawnte hym to be his successour if he died with owte yssue by cownsaile of nowblemen of þe realme. But Harolde despisynge the message, seide hit scholde be tryede with a swerde, preyenge God to iugge betwene þeim. The hostes gedrede and nye to gedre in the feste of seynte Calixt, men of Ynglonde ȝafe theyme to ryette and syngynge in the nyȝhte afore thro alle the nyȝhte. And the Normannes ȝafe theym to preiere, to confession of theire synnes, and in the morowe to the receyvynge of þeire Maker. In the vowarde of whom were foote men with bawes, and other partes were sette in ordre after use Page 243, vol.7 of batelle. Afore this conflicte, the seide duke turnede owte the wronge side of his haburion for haste, whiche perceyvynge that lauȝhede, seyenge an erledome is turnede to a realme. Henricus. But afore the hostes mette, a man of Normandy, Tailefer by name, toke a toohonded swerde, and playenge afore the hostes did slee oon of Ynglishe men berynge a standart metynge hym, and after an other, and the seide Tailefer sleynge the thrydde man was sleyne also, and with that the hostes mette togedre with a songe of Rolland begunne of the parte of the Normannes; [folio 334b] whiche batelle was protendede from thre of the clokke untille eve, neiþer parte seasenge from fiȝhte; but the archers of the duke prevaylede moche that day. At the laste this duke made a signe to his men that thei scholde flee, that doen Ynglischemen were dispersede anoon as to folowe the chase. But the Nor|mannes gedrede into an ordre made grete murdre then of Page 245, vol.7 Ynglischemen. At the laste kynge Harolde persede with an arowe thro the eie in the breyne diede þer; whiche dedde and lyenge on the grounde, a knyȝhte of Normandy pereschede his hippe with a spere. The seide duke perceyvynge that, expellede that knyȝhte utterly from his servyce, in that he did ageyne knyȝhtehode. This William duke of Normandy loste thre noble horses sleyne under hym þat day, ȝitte he schedde not oon drope of bloode. That victory hade, William commaunded his men to be beriede, grawntynge licence to his adversaries to bery theire dedde men also, sendynge the body of Harolde to his moder desirenge hit, whiche sche beryede at þe monastery of Waltham, whom sche made. ℞. Neverthelesse Geraldus re|hersethe in his itinerary that Harolde wounded soore, and his lifte eie pereschede with an arowe fledde to the cite of Chestre, where he lyvede as an ankor in a chapelle of Seynte Iames nye to the churche of seynte Iohn. This reporte is hade communely in the same cite, and also Aluredus Ryvallense, in his xxvjtiPage 247, vol.7 chapitre, in the ende, rehersethe in the lyfe of seynte Edward that Harolde other diede miserably or was reservede to penaunce. Alfridus. The dethe of kynge Harolde schewede, Edwinus and Morkarus, erles of the Marches and of Northumbrelonde, whiche withdrawede theyme from kynge Harolde, come to London; whiche sende Algitha theire sustir, wife of Harolde, to the cite of Chestre, with Aldredus archebischop of Yorke and of London, promisynge to erecte Edgarus Adelynge into kynge, and to fiȝhte for hym. But the fame of this noble duke spryng|ynge thei wente from theire purpose, whiche commynge to the seide duke ȝafe theire hendes to hym promisynge fidelite, plegges and suertes þereof taken to the seide duke of Normandy.