Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 25.djvu/452
Henery I Henry I
In May 1120 Henry joyfully received his son William, who came over to him from England. The object of his coming was shown by the despatch of messengers to Count Fulk to propose that the marriage contract between William and Fulk's daughter Matilda should be fulfilled. Fulk agreed and made peace with Henry, offering to end the ancient dispute between the houses of Normandy and Anjou by settling Maine upon his daughter, and to give up Alençon provided that the king would restore it to William Talvas, son of Robert of Bellême, and heir of its ancient lords (Orderic, p. 851; Suger, p. 45; Gesta Regum, v. 419). This marriage, which was celebrated in June at Lisieux, changed the aspect of the war, for the alliance with Count Fulk enabled Henry to devote all his energies to repelling Louis and punishing his rebellious vassals. In the summer he made a terrible raid on the disloyal lords; he laid siege to Evreux, and finding it well defended called the Bishop Audoin to him, for Audoin, in common with the bishops and clergy of the duchy generally, was loyal to Henry, and asked him whether it would not be well for him to fire the town provided that if the churches were burnt he would rebuild them. As the bishop hesitated to give an answer, the king set fire to the town and burnt it, churches and all, he and his nobles giving the bishop ample pledges that he would rebuild the churches, which he afterwards did. When Amaury heard that his town was burnt, he sent to Louis for help. On 20 Aug. Henry, who had heard mass that morning at Noyon, was riding towards Andelys to make war, with five hundred of his best knights, when his scouts told him that the French king, who had ridden out from Andelys with four hundred knights, was close at hand. The two bands met on the plain of Brenneville. Besides William the Ætheling two of Henry's natural sons, Robert and Richard, fought in their father's company; Richard with a hundred knights remained mounted, the rest of Henry's knights fought on foot. Among the knights of Louis fought William of Normandy. Louis neglected to marshal his force; William Crispin, a rebel Norman, charged Henry's forces with eighty horse. He and his men were surrounded, but he made his
1 May of this year his queen, Matilda, died, and he also lost his faithful counsellor, Robert of Meulan. To this time also is to be referred a conspiracy which was made by one of his chamberlains to assassinate him. The plot was discovered, and the traitor punished by mutilation. It is said to have had a considerable effect on the king; he increased his guards, often changed his sleeping-place, and would not sleep without having a shield and sword close at hand (Suger, p. 44; Gesta Regum, v. 411). Hearing that Richer of Laigle had admitted the French into his town, he marched against it, but was stopped by William of Tancarville, who brought him false news that Hugh of Gournay, Stephen of Albemarle, and others of his rebellious lords were at Rouen. When he found that they were not there, he attacked Hugh of Gournay's castle, la Ferté, but heavy rain forced him to abandon the siege. Having laid waste the country he attacked and burnt Neubourg. In September he seized Henry of Eu and Hugh of Gournay at Rouen, imprisoned them, and reduced their castles. He held a council at Rouen in October, and endeavoured to make peace with his lords. While he was there Amaury of Montfort made himself master of Evreux. About the middle of November he attacked Laigle, and was hit on the head by a stone sent from the castle by the French garrison; his helmet, however, protected him. In December Alençon rebelled against his nephews Theobald and Stephen, and was occupied by Fulk of Anjou. Henry had caused Eustace de Pacy, the husband of his natural daughter Juliana and lord of Breteuil, to send him his two little daughters as hostages for his good faith, and had put a castellan, Ralph Harenc, in charge of his tower of Ivry, making him send his son as a hostage to Eustace. By the advice of Amaury of Montfort, Eustace, who was on the rebels' side, put out the boy's eyes. On this Henry, in great wrath, sent his two grand-daughters to Harenc that he might serve them in the same way. Harenc tore out their eyes, and cut off the tips of their noses. Their parents then fortified all their castles against Henry, and Juliana gathered a force, and shut herself in the castle of Breteuil. The townsmen who were loyal sent to Henry, and he appeared before the castle in February 1119. Juliana tried to kill her father by a shot from an engine. She failed, and was forced to offer to surrender. Her father would not allow her to leave the castle except by letting herself down into the moat and wading through the icy water (Orderic, p. 848; De Contemptu Mundi, p. 311; Lingard, ii. 12). During the early months of the year the war went on much as in the year before; the Norman lords still remained disloyal, Louis took Andelys, which was held by the king's natural son Richard, by surprise, and the French became masters of all the neighbouring country. Henry was losing ground, and Amaury of Montfort scornfully rejected his offer of reconciliation.