Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. I
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007
This name has been commonly accepted as standing for Appeville, taken from one of the three communes that bear it in Normandy. Walter d'Appeville in 1086 held the manor of Folkestone under William de Arcis. "There was," says Mr. Planche, "more than one Norman family of note in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries" so named. On the other hand, we find "Wiestace de Abevile" mentioned in the Roman du Rou, and classed among the greatest Norman nobles at the battle of Hastings. "There is," says Wace's commentator, "a commune so named in the arrondissement of Lisieux, but M. Le Prevost thinks it more probable that Abbeville in Ponthieu is intended. Is it clear that Wace did not mean—however incorrect the geography—Eustace of Boulogne? It would be singular that he should not at all mention so important a person; yet he does not, unless he is intended here." Mr. Planche admits "the fact that both the Counts of Ponthieu and the Counts of Boulogne were occasionally called 'de Abbeville.'" No such name is entered in Domesday, where the Count's great possessions are recorded under the head of Eustachius Comes. "Eustacy," on Leland's Roll, may possibly stand for Eustace de Boulogne, though it is only in very exceptional cases that the Christian, rather than the surname, is given. I prefer to adopt Taylor's reading of "Wiestace de Abevile."
It would be impossible to give an account of the battle of Hastings that did not include the name of this powerful French noble. His figure stands out in bold relief through all the vicissitudes of the fateful seven hours' struggle that decided the future destiny of England. It was he who rode by William's side in the thickest of the melee, and when the Duke's second horse was killed under him, re-mounted him upon his own. It was he who, with Walter Giffard and the Lords of Ponthieu and Montfort, cut down the wounded King, as, faithful to his post, he stood by his standard, "in grievous pain, defending himself to the last." One struck him on the front of the helmet; another stabbed him in the breast, piercing his shield; a third ran him through the body till his bowels gushed out; and the fourth aimed at his leg, "striking him on the thick of the thigh," as shown in the Bayeux Tapestry. His death sealed the doom of his army. The jealously-guarded Dragon Standard, at whose foot he and his two brothers had shed their life-blood, was captured and carried off; and the news, spreading over the battle-field in the fast-gathering twilight, sounded the death-knell of their last hope. The Saxons broke their ranks and took to flight, plunging into the trackless thickets and fens of the surrounding forest, and the Norman horsemen spurred after them in furious pursuit. But their headlong course was suddenly arrested by the treacherous gully of the Malfosse, and men and horses together rolled down its precipitous banks, to flounder helplessly in the swamp below. "At no time during the day's battle," says Wace, "did so many Normans die as perished in that fosse. So said they who saw the dead." The fugitives made a stand on the opposite side, hurling down stones and javelins at the Normans struggling in the fosse, and "rolling one over the other with their faces to the earth, unable to rise." So severe was the check, that "Count Eustace, deeming that a new English force had come to the rescue, turned with fifty knights and counselled William to sound a retreat. He whispered in the ear of the Duke that if he pressed on, it would be to certain death. The words were hardly out of his mouth, when a blow, dealt in the darkness, struck the Count between the shoulder blades, and he was borne off with blood flowing from his mouth and nostrils. But William pressed on."—Freeman.
Count Eustace was the eldest son of Eustace "with the Eye," Count of Boulogne, by his wife Mahaut, daughter of Lambert the Bearded, Count of Louvain, and was a sovereign prince in his own county, owing no superior save his lord the King of France. His house had been founded by Angilbert, a Frank noble, who married Bertha, daughter of the Emperor Charlemagne, and before 790 was created Duke of the maritime territory, afterwards styled Ponthieu. (Art. de Verifier les Dates, xii., 318). In 1050 he had married Godgifu or Goda, the sister of Edward the Confessor; and the following year came over with a great train to visit his brother-in-law. As he was passing through Dover on his way home, one of his followers quarrelled with a townsman about his quarters, and killed him on the spot. The whole town flew to arms, and the Count and his retainers had to fight for their lives against desperate odds, only escaping at last with the loss of upwards of twenty men. The King took their part, and called upon the Earl of Kent to punish the men of Dover, but Godwin, jealous of the favour shown to the foreigners, refused to interfere unless both parties were brought to trial, demanding that Eustace and his men-at-arms should be delivered up to him. This dispute, prolonged and embittered by much exasperating altercation, lead to the banishment of Earl Godwin and his family. By a strange irony of fate, when the men of Kent rose against the stern rule of Bishop Odo in 1067, it was their ancient foeman Count Eustace that they summoned to their aid; and he brought over a French force that made an unsuccessful attempt to seize Dover Castle. For this he was, according to ancient form, arraigned for high treason before the King and his Witan; but contrived to make his peace, and continued high in William's favour till his death. His English wife, who had given him no children, died about 1054; and two years later, in passing through Lower Lorraine, on his return from escorting Pope Victor II. to Rome, he was entertained by Duke Godfrey at Bouillon, and fell in love with his daughter Ida. She became his second wife, with the Castle of Bouillon for her dowry, and bore him three sons, Eustace, Godfrey, and Baldwin. Godfrey, who took his name from his mother's inheritance, and earned for it an imperishable renown, was the first Christian King of Jerusalem; but neither he nor his brother Baldwin, who succeeded to his throne, left an heir. The eldest son, Eustace III., Count of Boulogne, inherited his father's possessions about 1081 (in a charter quoted by Sir Henry Ellis, Countess Ida is spoken of as a widow in 1082), and held them at the date of Domesday; but two years after was implicated in the rebellion against William Rufus. His wife was a Scottish princess. Mary, the daughter of Malcolm Canmore and the sainted Margaret, and their only child, Maud, was married to King Stephen.
Though the direct line ended with him, it is certain that the lineage continued in England. William of Poictiers mentions a nephew of Eustace II. who was taken prisoner at Dover in 1067, and is conjectured by Freeman to have been the son of his brother Lambert, described as Lord of Sens. Another brother, Gosfrid, was Bishop of Paris; and a charter of Pharamus de Boulogne (Mon. Ang. I. 583) speaks of a fourth, also Godfrid or Geoffrey, whose son William was the father of Pharamus. Eustace and Simon de Boulogne, brothers of Pharamus, are mentioned in the same deed, by which we learn that Pharamus held lands in England of the Honour of Boulogne, which then consisted of 112 knight's fees. In the Liber Niger we find Herebert de Buliun holding half a knight's fee of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk; and William de Bolein holding one fee in York and one in Lincoln. The learned authors of the Recherches sur le Domesday, while admitting that a younger branch of the house of the Counts of Boulogne existed in England, where the name became Bouleyn or Boleyn, suggest that it may possibly have been an illegitimate one.
It seems more than likely that Anne Boleyn may be traced back to this stock. "Queen Anne Boleyn was the great granddaughter of Sir Geffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London, temp. Henry VI., who accumulated a large fortune. The family had formerly been of great consequence. Sir Thomas Boleyn, of Blickling, in Norfolk, grandfather to Sir Geffrey, lived circa 1400, and was lineally descended from John de Bologne of Sail, living 1283, whose father Simon purchased lands in Norfolk by fine in 1252. The father of the latter married the sister and heir of Robert Malet (Blomfield), and possessed estates at Walpole, etc."—The Norman People. One of this house married, about the end of the thirteenth century, the heiress of the great house of Hardres or Ardres. Her ancestor, Ernulph de Ardres, was one of the knights banneret of Eustace de Boulogne, and probably his kinsman, holding large estates under him in 1086, both in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
The sudden rise of the Boleyns, consequent upon Anne's advancement, preceded their collapse and disgrace. Her reign was a very short one. On the last day of May, 1533, she had been brought from the Tower in solemn procession, escorted by all the dignitaries of the realm in their robes of state to be crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey. The streets through which she passed were "radiant with masses of colour," every house draped in scarlet and crimson, or hung with arras, velvet, tissue, or cloth of gold. "Every fountain and conduit within the walls ran all day with wine, the bells of every steeple were ringing, children lay in wait with songs, and ladies with posies."—Froude. She came, "borne along upon the waves of this sea of glory, the observed of all observers, in a white chariot, drawn by two palfreys in white damask housings that swept the ground, a golden canopy held above her, making music with its silver bells." She was "dressed in white tissue robes, her fair hair flowing loose upon her shoulders, her temples circled with a light coronet of gold and diamonds," and thus, supreme in loveliness as in all else, she had passed on "in a blazing trail of splendour" to the goal of her ambition. She had won all she sought for in this world. But remark the reverse of this flattering picture. In less than three years from that time, at the beginning of another month of May, 1536, she was led back to the Tower to die; and as if to complete the bitter misery of the change, she was taken "to her own lodgings in which she lay at her coronation."—Ibid. Within two days of her own execution the head of her only brother, Lord Rochford, had fallen upon the block; and the ambitious old father, who had striven and plotted to place his daughter on the throne, lived to lament the utter downfall and extinction of his house. One daughter only remained; Mary, married to William Carey, whose son was created Lord Hunsdon in 1559, and one infant grandchild, destined to a long and glorious reign as Queen Elizabeth. He had been created Viscount Rochford in 1525, and Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde in 1529, but both titles expired at his death in 1538.
- ↑ This Countess Ida (a great landowner in Domesday) is the princess alluded to hi the famous romance of 'Le Chevalier du Cygne,' as the daughter of the enchanted knight who became Duke of Bouillon (see Bohun), and her son Godfrey gave as the arms of his new kingdom the golden cross on a silver shield spoken of in the legend as borne by his grandfather. The blazonry of metal upon metal is contrary to every rule of heraldry, and makes this bearing a most unusual one. Singularly enough, it is figured in the Bayeux Tapestry, surrounded by an azure border, as the consecrated gonfanon sent by the Pope to William the Conqueror.
- ↑ Anne Boleyn spent some of her1 earliest years with her aunt at Erwarton in Suffolk; and either from some old memory, or affection for the place, is said to have desired that her heart should be buried there. The local tradition, "that the heart of Queen Anne was somewhere in the church," has been religiously handed down from father to son; and when, during its restoration in 1837, part of the north wall was taken down, a heart-shaped leaden casket was discovered by the workmen. It contained a handful of dust, but had no mark or inscription of any kind; and was re-closed and re-buried by order of the rector.