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ANSELM, family; for this New-Forest, in the reign of the Saxon Abp. Cant. kings, was thickly inhabited, a great many towns and churches standing within that precinct. But the Conqueror, either for the better convenience of landing or providing for his A.D. 1100. forces, dislodged the inhabitants, demolished the buildings, churches and all, and turned the place into a forest. This place, thus metamorphosed, proved very unfortunate to his posterity; for, beside what happened to king William, Richard, his second brother, and Richard, his nephew, son to Robert, duke of Normandy, were both killed by misHoveden, chance in the same forest.
Annal. fol. 268.
When Anselm had news brought him to Lyons of the king's death, he was very sensibly afflicted at his making so sudden and unexpected an exit.
As to the qualities of this prince, Malmsbury describes him as a person of great spirit and magnanimity. That, at first, his temper lay concealed; that he seemed to hang in even balance between good and bad, and nobody could conjecture which way the scale would turn. In the beginning of his reign, while archbishop Lanfranc was living, his conduct was unexceptionable, and gave strong expectations of an admirable reign. After the death of this prelate he struck out into inequalities, and floated between virtue and vice; but, at last, his ill qualities increased and gained the ascendant. Everything that was commendable in him before, was now pushed to an excess. He was now more profuse than liberal; his greatness degenerated into pride, and he might be said to be rather cruel than severe. In short, the impressions of conscience and humanity were worn out to that degree, that at last he seemed to have no regard Malmsb. de either for God or man. His reign, as has been observed Willielm. already, was very arbitrary and oppressive. Ralph, his chancellor, whom he atferwards promoted to the see of Durham, flattered his tyrannical temper, and executed his orders with all the diligence and rigour imaginable. The man could talk well, and was a great lawyer, but without a grain of honesty. He was so thorough paced a courtier, and sacrificed himself so entirely to the king's humour, that
Secund. 1. 4. fol. 69.
The dissolution of
Rufus used to say, he was the only man that would run all manners in lengths, venture all hazards, and not value what the world
thought of him, provided he could please his master. This
Eadmer, 1. 3. p. 55. His character.
Ralph, being first minister, made wretched havock in the HENRY I. K. of Eng. Church, seized the revenues upon a vacancy, and set the preferments to sale. Malmsbury complains, that most of Nullus clethe clergy turned lawyers and farmers in this reign. The causidicus: historian goes on in his complaints upon the administration, nullus Prestells us the greatest crimes might be bought off by making a firmarius. friend at court, and that a thief might have his pardon at the gallows, provided he proposed anything to the advantage of the exchequer. As for the troops on foot, there was no discipline among them; they were left to the liberty of free quarter, and lived at discretion upon the country. Then as to the court, it was altogether libertine, and out of order. The men were effeminate to the last degree, both in habit and gesture, appeared as if they were willing to put a force upon nature, and renounce their sex; and, in short, Ibid. nothing but luxury and license was then the fashion.
When king William heard of Urban's death, he seemed pleased with the news, but, enquiring of the disposition of pope Paschal, his successor, it was told him, he would be of Anselm's opinion in several things; upon which he replied, he might then live by himself" For," says he, "I will have nothing to do with him, but move with the same freedom as formerly:" for, as Eadmer observes, he thought the pope, without his permission, had no manner of jurisdiction in England. Eadmer,
Hist. 1. 2.
Some few days after the unfortunate death of this prince, p. 54. his brother Henry was crowned at Westminster by Maurice, bishop of London. This king, on his coronation-day, re- King Henstored the bishopricks of Canterbury, Winchester, and Sa-on. lisbury, seized by his predecessor, the profits of the first being carried into the exchequer, upon the dispute between him and Anselm; and the other two, upon their respective vacancies. This new king suppressed all the arbitrary His concesusages of the late reign, promised the subject the privilege Church and of king Edward's laws, together with the amendments of his state. father, the Conqueror. This promise to the Church and state was fortified with the solemnity of an oath, drawn up in writing, sealed with the king's seal, and published through the kingdom.
sions to the
Things having this comfortable prospect, Anselm was solicited to return to England. Being come as far as Clugni, he received fresh encouragement: for here an agent
Florent. Wigorn ad An. 1100.
Eadmer, 1. 3. p. 55.
ANSELM, of the king's met him with an invitation to his archbishopAbp. Cant. rick. At his arrival in Kent, the country received him with extraordinary respect.
See Records, n. 14.
Some few days after, he went to court, and found the same welcome. The king excused himself for not staying for Anselm, and being crowned by another prelate: and thus far, matters went smoothly enough. But when Anselm was required to be reinvested by the king, and do the customary homage of his predecessors, he refused to comply, and made a report of the proceedings of the late synod at Rome; adding withal, "That if the king would please to receive the canons of that council, there would be a good understanding between him and his sovereign; but if the case happened otherwise, he did not believe his staying in England could turn to any account: for," says he, “if the king proceeds to give investitures to bishopricks or abbeys, I can neither communicate with him, nor any person thus preferred. In short, unless the king thinks fit to comply with the see of Rome, I cannot stay in this country. And therefore I desire he would please to acquaint me with his resolution."
When the king heard this, he was very much shocked: he looked upon it as a great prejudice to the crown to lose the investiture and homage of the prelates. It is granted, the privilege of investitures had been part of the prerogative royal, as far as Edward the Confessor. Anselm's noncompliance, therefore, upon this head, was looked upon as no better than encroachment: however, the king, being not well settled in the throne, was unwilling to come to a rupture; for if Anselm had quitted the kingdom in disgust, and gone into the interest of Robert, duke of Normandy, it was feared he might have been in a condition to have set the crown upon his head.
To gain time, therefore, and that the matter might be the more amicably debated, the controversy was to rest till respited till Easter following. And, in the meantime, both parties
the Easter following.
were to send their agents to Rome, to try if they could persuade the pope to dispense with the decrees of the late synod, with respect to investitures; and, in the interim, the affairs of the Church in England were to continue in the same condition as formerly; only Anselm was to be restored
Anselm refuses to take investiture from the king.
to the profits and jurisdiction of his see. The archbishop HENRY I. had no opinion of the significancy of this proposal: how- K. of Eng. ever, to prevent misinterpretation, and that he might give the king no just ground to suspect him in a foreign interest, he agreed to the motion, and so all things were quiet for the present.
Some few days after, Maud, daughter of Malcolm Canmor King Henry by Margaret, Edgar Athelin's sister, was married to king princess Henry. Anselm was blamed by some people for being con- Maud. cerned in this solemnity: but that this censure was nothing but calumny appears plainly from Eadmer, who was thoroughly acquainted with the proceedings, and an eyewitness of the whole matter. The case stood thus: this young princess Maud was generally supposed to be a nun, because she had been educated in a religious house, and taken the veil upon her. This character made people censure the king's courting her. Maud applies to Anselm upon this occasion, and desires his advice. The archbishop objected the common report to her, and declared, that no motive whatsoever should prevail with him to disengage her from her vow to God Almighty. The princess denies there was any such engagement, and if he refused to believe her, offers to prove it in a full synod. It is true, she did not The case of deny but that she had formerly worn a veil; that when she those who was a girl, and under the discipline of her aunt Christina, that lady abbess had put a piece of black cloth upon secure their her head to prevent her being outraged by the Normans: termined. that she was forced to wear this habit against her inclination, and threw it off when she was out of her aunt's sight; and that when her father happened to see her veiled, he broke out into a passion, and tore it in pieces, protesting that he designed her for marriage, and not for a nunnery. Having thus related the matter of fact to the archbishop, she desired him to consider it, and referred herself to his disposal.
retired to nunneries to
Anselm thought the case too weighty to rest upon his single judgment, and therefore summons a synod to examine the point. This synod meeting at Lambeth, there were several unexceptionable witnesses produced to prove the truth of the princess's allegations, and particularly the two archdeacons of Canterbury and Salisbury, who had been
ANSELM, sent to the nunnery of Wilton, where Maud was educated, Abp. Cant. to enquire into the matter: these archdeacons, I say, made their report, that they had thoroughly examined the nuns of the house, and that they had all declared, that what the young princess had told the archbishop was exactly true. The archbishop therefore conjures the synod to consider the case with all imaginable care; and that no regards, but those of truth and conscience might have any influence upon them that the question might be so unexceptionably determined, that the precedent might give no occasion to mislead posterity; and that both religion and private liberty might have their right. When the archbishop had given this direction, he withdrew; and, being afterwards brought in, at the request of the house, they made their report of their resolution; and told him, that, upon a full enquiry, they were ready to make good that the princess Maud was under no necessity of being a nun, but that she might fairly dispose of her person as she thought fit. That though this point might easily be proved from the topicks of reason and equity, yet they should rather insist upon the authority of his predecessor, Lanfranc, who was of the same opinion in a parallel case.
When William, Duke of Normandy, first made himself master of this country, a great many of his soldiers thought their conquest gave them a right to everything; that they might do what they pleased with those that were too weak for them; and that not only the estates, but the wives and daughters of the English were part of their property: by this principle they practised as far as they could reach. Several women, therefore, to prevent ill usage, retired to nunneries, and took the veil upon them. Now after the heat of the war was over, the troops put under discipline, and things began to be settled, the question was put to Lanfranc, whether he thought those women who had fled for sanctuary to the nunneries, and taken the veil for their security, were obliged to continue in the monasteries, or not? To deterVid. Spelm, mine this point, that archbishop called a national council, Concil. vol. in which it was decreed, that those women, who had made
2. p. 7.
use of the expedient above mentioned to preserve their honour, ought to be valued for making so virtuous a provision, and not forced to be nuns against their will.