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to a third person; as if religion could
It is true, at his coronation, he made a solemn promise of nal, vol. 4. these three articles, mostly relating to the Church.
First, that upon the death of any bishop, he would never seize the temporalities, and keep the see vacant, but immediately give his consent for a canonical election.
Secondly, that he would never disturb any of the clergy or laity in the enjoyment of their woods, as the late king Henry had done; who used to sue those who had either hunted in their own woods, or cut down any part of them for their own uses.
be supported by a MAUD, Alford, the Jesuit, Empress. Alford, the Jesuit, scandalous maxim;
Thirdly, he promised a perpetual release of the Danegelt. This Dane-gelt was a tax of two shillings upon every hide of land, and had been levied by the crown for several reigns beyond the Conquest. It was first raised as a contribution for the Danes, to prevent their depredations, and buy a peace of that formidable enemy.
Histor. lib. 8. fol.
To proceed: the temporal nobility, as Matthew Paris re- g. 221. lates, deserted the empress upon a ground no less inde- Florent. Wigorn. ad fensible than the clergy; they thought it a disreputable An. 991. thing to be subject to the government of a woman; as if one sex was not as capable of authority as the other. These men seem to have forgotten that Deborah had a sovereign commission from God Almighty, and was made one of the Mat. Paris, judges in Israel.
However, notwithstanding the unaccountable management The pope of matters, the pope makes no scruple to confirm King Ste-king Stephen's title, sends his benediction in a bull, and takes him phen's title, and argues under St. Peter's protection. ill in defence of it.
His holiness founds this prince's right upon his being unanimously elected by the nobility and commons, upon his promise of submission to the Roman see at his coronation, and upon the score of his being a near relation to the royal family. Notwithstanding this flourish, Huntington, who
WIL- lived at this time, calls Stephen's enterprise a tempting of LIAM, God, a breach of solemn faith, and a bold invasion of the Abp. Cant. throne; and Hoveden, Matthew Paris, and the Annals of Hist. Prior Waverley, speak much the same language. Indeed, the Hagustald. pope's arguments are very fallacious and inconclusive; he Reg. Steph. says that "Stephen was chosen by the general consent of col. 313. the people;" but what signifies this, when they were all Vigore Fretus et Im- sworn subjects to the empress? What liberty had they to pudentia, &c. choose a sovereign, when they had solemnly tied down Histor. 1. 8. themselves to a prior engagement? His argument, from Stephen's being of the royal family, is no less exceptionable than the other. Instead of mending the matter, this makes it worse. To wrong a near relation, is an aggravation of the injustice; he that usurps upon his family, flies more directly in the face of nature, and is false to his own blood.
Robert, earl of Glocester, king Henry's natural son, deserted his sister, the empress, with the rest, and did homage to king Stephen, with a clause of reservation for the security of his own estate and dignity. The compliance of this earl, who was a person of great courage and interest, seems
to have disposed the bishops to follow that precedent; for The bishops soon after his arrival in England, they swore a conditional
swear a con
ditional oath of allegi
allegiance to king Stephen; which, by the form of it, was to bind no longer than the Church was maintained in her liberties and jurisdiction. King Stephen granted Hist. No- the Church a charter at Oxford, and swore to the contents
vell. 1. 1. fol. 101.
King Stephen's char
ter to the
The charter sets forth his election by the clergy and people, and mentions the confirmation of his title by the pope. From hence the king proceeds to promise, that holy Church shall enjoy her ancient freedoms, and be treated with honourable regard: that no simoniacal dispositions of Church preferment should be permitted: that the persons and estates of clergymen should be under the jurisdiction of the bishops; and in case of any misdemeanour, or dispute, tried only in their courts: that whatever estates the Church was possessed of at the death of William the Conqueror should be quietly enjoyed, and not disturbed by any claim to the contrary; and in case of vacancy of bishopricks, abbeys, and other Church preferments, the see's goods and estates were to be put into the hands of the clergy, or other
persons of reputation belonging to the respective churches, MAUD, till such time as they should be canonically filled. There the Empress. are several other clauses of privilege which the reader may see in the collection.
The prior of Hexham, in his history of king Stephen, mentions the witnesses that signed the charter; but Malms- Prior Habury only tells us in general that there were a great many 314. gulstad. col. of them, but that he did not think it worth his while to insert the list, because the charter was quickly made insignificant, and violated almost in every article; as if the king had sworn on purpose to have the character of an ill conscience, and shew his courage in perjury. However, the Malmsb. historian is so ceremonious as to give Stephen the commen- vell. 1. 1. dation of a good-natured man, and lays the faults of his mal- fol. 101. administration upon evil councillors: adding withal, that had he made his way fairly to the throne, and not been too easy in hearkening to the suggestions of ill men, he would not have been unqualified for his station.
As for the bishops, who thought a king of their own mak- Malmsb. ib. ing would have been altogether manageable and pliant, they found themselves miserably mistaken; for now the churches were plundered, and their estates given away to the laity. The prelates were seized, and either kept under confinement, or forced to surrender their lands, and fined deeply for their enlargement.
Thus, when people will venture upon unconscionable expedients, and sacrifice their honesty to their interest, they desert their best protection, and are oftentimes losers by the bargain.
Before I take leave of this charter, I must not omit the mention of Baronius's remark upon it. The cardinal, upon king Stephen's declaring his title confirmed by the pope, pretends this acknowledgment was made by way of homage; because the crown of England was a fief of the Roman see; and that, for this reason, every king at his accession to the throne, was to receive a ratification of his dignity from the pope.
Baron. Annal. tom.
That this assertion of the cardinal is altogether wide of 12. sect. 30. truth has been shewn already; and, to mention nothing far- ad An. 1135. ther, may easily be disproved by the Conqueror's answer to Vid. supra the demands of pope Gregory VII. The reason why king 1085.
WIL- Stephen mentions the pope's confirmation was, because he LIAM, had lately received a bull from Rome to that purpose. This Abp. Cant. record, though mentioned at large by the prior of Hexham, being probably not seen by the cardinal, might help to lead him into this mistake.
of William, archbishop
This year, William, archbishop of Canterbury, departed this life. It is thought he died of grief for his infidelity to of Canter the empress, and that the new oath to king Stephen
poisoned his constitution. He was so visibly disordered at the coronation of this prince, that his hands shook, and let fall the consecrated elements. That which was most remarkably to the credit of this prelate, was the rebuildquit. Britan, ing and ornamenting the cathedral of Canterbury, lately
burned. The consecration of this church was performed in a very splendid manner, king Henry and his queen, David, king of Scotland, and all the English prelates being Act. Pontif. present at the solemnity. This archbishop likewise consecrated the new cathedral at Rochester. After his death the see of Canterbury continued vacant about two years.
This year, as Dice to reports, there was a convention of A. D. 1137. the lords spiritual and temporal, summoned to Westminster,
which gave occasion to an election for the see of London, which had been vacant two years. And here we may observe, that from the Conqueror's time to the reign of king John, it was the custom to choose bishops at a publick meeting of the bishops and barons, the king being present at the solemnity: and, that the election might pass through a regular form, a delegation of monks, or canons, who represented the vacant sees, were sent for up for this purpose. Thus William, dean of St. Paul's, and the chapter, made their appearance at the Westminster convention, and proceeded to the choice of a bishop. The majority of the canons pitched upon Anselm, nephew to Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury and abbot of St. Edmundsbury, notwithstanding the king, the dean of St. Paul's, and another party of the canons, declared strongly against this election: the other side insisting upon the privilege of the majority, had some of their estates seized for adhering to the choice of a bishop against the king's consent. And here bishop Godwin is mistaken in affirming that the king, being disgusted at the obstinacy of these canons, ordered their
wives to be apprehended, and sent to the Tower, where MAUD, they were kept prisoners till their husbands had given the Empress. king satisfaction. But this passage, as the learned Wharton observes, is not to be met with in Diceto. It is true, this author reports, that in the year 1137 the Focaria of some secular canons were sent to the Tower in a rugged boisterous manner; but he does not say anything of their belonging to the cathedral of St. Paul's. The truth of the case seems to be this, there were secular canons at this time in a great many places within the diocese of London, and these, according to the custom of the age, were most of them married. Now this liberty being forbidden by a late synod at London, the king's officers haled their wives to prison to get money for their enlargement. To return to the election: the canons who elected Anselm went along with him to Rome, and got him confirmed by the pope. Being fortified with this authority, he was solemnly installed in St. Paul's cathedral, challenged canonical obedience from the clergy of the diocese, and disposed of the revenues of the bishoprick. However, the dean and his party made their appeal to Rome, and at last got the election repealed. The pope's sentence for annulling the election went upon this ground, viz. :-"Because it was made without the dean's knowledge and consent; who, according to right, ought to give his vote first in the choice of a bishop.' The annulling of this election was procured at the solicitation of the suffragans of the province of Canterbury, and by a letter to the pope from Thurstan, archbishop of York, in which he gives Anselm a character so much to his disadvantage, that after he had lost his bishoprick he had much ado to recover his old post at St. Edmundsbury. The see of London being thus voided, the distraction of the times kept Diceto Abbrev. Chron. it vacant about four or five years longer. p. 506, 507.
The next year affords little remarkable relating to the Annales Church, excepting the burning of the cathedral, the monas- Saxon. in tery of St. Mary's, and thirty other parish churches in Godwin in York. To which we may add a like calamity at Bath, Episc. Londinens. where the cathedral was burnt down. It is true the acci- Wharton dent was quickly repaired, Robert, then bishop of that see, Londinens. raising a new fabrick, not inferior to the other, whereas the p. 54. et
A. D. 1137. Godwin in Episc. Bathon.