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element of success in his daring attempt upon the English crown, that what is personally associated with him, even though it be found not in our own island, belongs to the antiquities of Englan:1. He was a stark man, as the Saxon chronicler describes him from personal knowledge, a man of unbending will and ruthless determination, but of too lofty a character to be needlessly cruel or wantonly destructive. Of his pre-eminent abilities there can be no question. Connected with such a man, then, his purposes and his success, the remains of his old Palace at Lillebonne, which may be readily visited by those who traverse the Seine in its steamboats, is an object of especial interest to an Englishman. For here was the great Council held for the invasion of England, and the attempt was determined against by the people collectively, but the wily chief separately won the assent of their leaders, and the collective voice was raised in vain. More intimately associated with the memory of the Conqueror is the Church of St. Etienne at Caen, which he founded ; and where, deserted by his family and his dependants, the dead body of the sovereign before whom all men had trembled was hurried to the grave, amidst fearful omens and the denunciations of one whom he had persecuted. The mutilated statue of William may be seen on the exterior of the same church. In England we have one monument, connected in the same distinct manner with his personal character, whilst it is at the same time a memorial of his great triumph and the revolution which was its result-we mean Battle Abbey. When Harold heard
" That duc Wyllam to Hastynges was ycome,” he gallantly set forward to meet him—but with an unequal force. He knew the strength of his enemy, but he did not quail before it. The chroniclers say that Harold's spies reported that there were more priests in William's camp than fighting men in that of Harold; and they add that the Saxon knew better than the spies that the supposed priests were good men-at-arms. Mr. Stothard, in his * Account of the Bayeux Tapestry,' points out, with reference to the figures of the Normans, that “not only are their upper lips shaven, but nearly the whole of their heads, excepting a portion of hair left in front.” He adds, “It is a curious circumstance in favour of the great antiquity of the Tapestry, that time has, I believe, handed down to us no other representation of this most singular fashion, and it appears to throw a new light on a fact which has perhaps been misunderstood : the report made by Harold's spies that the Normans were an army of priests is well known. I should conjecture, from what appears in the Tapestry, that their resemblance to priests did not so much arise from the upper lip being shaven, as from the circumstance of the complete tonsure of the back part of the head.” Marching out from their entrenched camp at Hastings, the Normans, all shaven and shorn, encountered the moustached Saxons on the 14th of October. The Tapestry represents the Saxons fighting on foot, with javelin and battle-axe, bearing their shields with the old British characteristic of a boss in the centre. The Normans are on horseback, with their long shields and their pennoned lances. Harold and his two brothers fell at the foot of their standard which they had planted on the little hill of Senlac, and on this spot, whose name was subsequently changed to Bataille, was built Battle Abbey. It was not the pride of the Conqueror alope that raised up this once magnificent monument. The stern man, the hot and passionate man, the man who took what he could get by right and upright, "was mild to good men who loved God.” And so he built Battle Abbey.
Robert of Gloucester has thus described, in his quaint verse, the foundation of Battle Abbey :
“ King William bithougt him alsoe of that
Folke that was forlorue,
And slayn also thorurg him
In the bataile biforne.
An abbey he lete rere
That there slayn were.
Feffed without fayle,
Abbey of Bataile." Brown Willis tells us that in the fine old parish-church of Battle wes formerly hung up a table containing certain verses, of which the following remained :
“This place of war is Battle called, because in battle here
Quite conquered and overthrown the English nation were.
this number doth array.” The politic Conqueror did wisely thus to change the associations, if it were possible, which belonged to this fatal spot. He could not obliterate the remembrance of “the day of bitterness,” the “ day of death,” the “day stained with the blood of the brave” (Matthew of Westminster). Even the red soil of Senlac was held, with patriotic superstition, to exude real and fresh blood after a small shower, " as if intended for a testimony that the voice of so much Christian blood here shed does still cry from the earth to the Lord” (Gulielmus Neubrigensis). This Abbey of Bataille is unquestionably a place to be trod with reverent contemplation by every Englishman who has heard of the great event that here took place, and has traced its greater consequences. He is of the mixed blood of the conquerors and the conquered. It has been written of him and his compatriots —
“ Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human kind pass by.” His national character is founded upon the union of the Saxon determination and the Norman energy. As he treads the red soil of Senlac, if his reformed faith had not taught him otherwise he would breathe a petition for all the souls, Saxon and Norman, “that there slain were,” The Frenchman, whose imagination has been stirred by Thierry's picturesque and philosophical history of the Norman Conquest, will tread this ground with no natural prejudices ; for the roll of Battle Abbey will show him that those inscribed as the followers of the Conqueror had Saxon as well as Norman names, and that some of the most illustrious of the names have long been the common property of England and of France. Yet the sight of this place is a mortifying one. The remains of the fine cloisters have been turned into a dining-room, and, to use the words of the 'Guide-Book,' “ Part of the site of the church is now a parterre which in summer exhibits a fine collection of Flora's greatest beauties.” This was the very church whose high altar was described by the old writers to have stood on the spot where the body of Harold was found, covered with honourable wounds in the defence of his tattered standard. “ Flora's greatest beauties !” Those who can look upon this desecration of a spot so singularly venerable without a burning blush for some foregone barbarism, must be made of different stuff from the brave who here fought to the death because they had a country which not only afforded them food and shelter, but the memory of
* St. Calixtus, October the 14th.
great men and heroic deeds, which was to them an inheritance to be prized and defended.
The desecration of Battle Abbey of course began at the general pillage under Henry the Eighth. The Lord Cromwell's Commissioners write to him that they have “cast their book” for the dispatch of the monks and household. They think that very small money can be made of the vestry, but they reckon the plunder of the church plate to amount to four hundred marks. Within three months after the surrender of the Abbey it was granted to Sir Anthony Browne ; and he at once set about pulling down the church, the bell-tower, the sacristy, and the chapter-house. The spoiler becarne Viscount Montacute ; and in this family Battle Abbey continued, till it was sold, in 1719, to Sir Thomas Webster. Brown Willis who wrote at the beginning of the last century, thus describes it in his day “Though this abbey be demolished, yet the magnificence of it appears by the ruins of the cloisters, &c., and by the largeness of the hall, kitchen, and gate-house, of which the last is entirely preserved. It is a noble pile, and in it are held sessions and other meetings, for this peculiar jurisdiction, which hath still great privileges belonging to it. What the hall was, when in its glory, may be guessed by its dimensions, its length above fifty of my paces; part of it is now used as a hay-barn ; it was leaded, part of the lead yet remains, and the rest is tiled. As to the kitchen, it was so large as to contain five fire-places, and it was arched at top; but the extent of the whole abbey may be better measured by the compass of it, it being computed at no less than a mile about. In this church the Conqueror offered up his sword and royal robe, which he wore on the day of his coronation. The monks kept these till the suppression, and used to show them as great curiosities, and worthy the sight of their best friends, and all persons of distinction that happened to come thither : nor were they less careful about preserving a table of the Norman gentry which came into England with the Conqueror.” 32.-SPEECHES BEFORE THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS.
WARNER'S ALBION'S ENGLAND.
The agents of our enemies, they henceforth cannot call
But to be self-false in this Isle a self-foe ever is,
DUKE WILLIAM'S SPEECH.
(My loving soldiers), one of twain your Duke resolves to have.
33.-INDUSTRY OF THE ANGLO-SAXONS.
C. KNIGAT. AGRICULTURE. The opening of the year was the time in which the ground was broken up, and the seed committed to the bounty of heaven. We cannot with any propriety assume that the seed was literally sown in the coldest month, although it is possible that the winter began earlier than it now does. December was emphatically called Winter-monat, winter-month. The Anglo-Saxon name of January was equally expressive of its fierce and gloomy attributes ; its long nights, when men and cattle were sheltering from the snow-storm and the frost, but the hungry wolf was prowling around the homestead. Verstegan says, “The month which we now call January, they called Wolf-monat, to wit, wolf-month, because people are wont always in that month to be in more danger to be devoured of wolves than in any season else of the year ; for that, through the extremity of cold and snow, theso ravenous beasts could not find of other beasts sufficient to feed upon.” There are preserved in the Cotton Library some very curious dialogues composed by Alfric of Canterbury, who lived in the latter part of the tenth century, which were for the instruction of the Anglo-Saxon youth in the Latin language, upon the principle of interlinear translation ; and in these the ploughmau says, “ I labour much. I go out at daybreak, urging the oxen to the field, and I yoke them to the plough. It is not yet so stark winter that I dare keep close at home, for fear of my lord.” (Turner's 'Anglo-Saxons.) We thus see that the ploughing is done after the harvest, before the winter sets in. The ploughman continues, “But the oxen being yoked, and the shear and coulter fastened on, I ought to plough every day one entire field or more. I have a boy to threaten the oxen with a goad, who is now hoarse through cold and bawling. I ought also to fill the bins of the oxen with hay, and water them, and carry out their soil.” The daily task of the ploughman indicates an advanced state of husbandry. The land was divided into fields; we know from Saxon grants that they had hedges and ditches. He was as careful, too, to carry upon the land the ordure of the oxen, as if he had studied a modern • Muck-Manual.' He knew the value of such labour, and set about it probably in a more scientific manner than many of those who till the same land nine hundred years after him. Mr. Sharon Turner has given a brief and sensible account of the Anglo-Saxon husbandry, from which the following is an extract :
“ When the Anglo-Saxons invaded England, they came into a country which had been under the Roman power for about four hundred years, and where agriculture, after its more complete subjection by Agricola, had been so much encouraged, that it had become one of the western granaries of the empire. The Britons, therefore, of the fifth century may be considered to have pursued the best system of husbandry then in use, and their lands to have been extensively cultivated with all those exterior circumstances which mark established proprietorship and improvement: as small farms ; inclosed fields ; regular divisions into meadow, arable, pasture and wood ; fixed boundaries ; planted hedges ; artificial dykes and ditches; selected spots for vineyards, gardens, and orchards ; connecting roads and paths; scattered villages and larger towns; with appropriated names for every spot and object that marked the limits of each property, or the course of each way. All these appear in the carliest Saxon charters, and before the combating invaders had time or ability to make them, if they had not found them in the island. Into such a country the Anglo-Saxon adventurers came, and by these facilities to rural civilization soon became an agricultural people. The natives, whom they despised, conquered, and enslaved, became their educators and servants in the new arts, which they had to learn, of grazing and tillage ; and the previous cultivation practised by the Romanised Britons will best account for the numerous divisions, and accurate and precise descriptions of land which occur in almost all the Saxon charters. No modern conveyance could more accurately distinguish or describe the boundaries of the premises which it conveyed.” (* History of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. III., Appendix, No. 2.)
The great season of abstinence from flesh, and the regular recurrence through the year of days of fasting, rendered a provision for the supply of fish to the