But Henry bishop of Winchester, the pope's legate, not able to endure this violation of the church, called a council of all the prelates to meet at Winchester, where the king being summoned, appeared by his advocate, who pleaded his cause with much learning; and the archbishop of Rouen coming to the council, declared his opinion, that although the canons did allow the bishops to possess castles, yet in dangerous times they ought to deliver them up to the king. This opinion Stephen followed very steadily, not yielding a tittle, although the legate his brother used all means, both rough and gentle, to work upon him.
The council of bishops broke up without other effect than that of leaving in their minds an implacable hatred to the king, in a very opportune juncture for the interests of Maude, who, about this time, landed at Portsmouth with her brother Robert earl of Gloucester. The whole force she brought over for this expedition consisted but of one hundred and forty knights; for she trusted altogether in her cause and her friends. With this slender attendance she went to Arundel, and was there received into the castle by the widow of the late king; while earl Robert, accompanied only by twenty men marched boldly to his own city of Gloucester, in order to raise forces for the empress, where the townsmen turned out the king's garrison as soon as they heard of his approach.