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By George Burton Adams

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Extra resources for The history of England from the Norman conquest to the death of John (1066-1216)

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Three legates of the pope were at Winchester, and there a council was summoned to meet them. Two of the legates were cardinals, then a relatively less exalted rank in the Church than later, but making plain the direct support of the pope. The other was Ermenfrid, Bishop of Sion, or Sitten, in what is now the Swiss canton of the Vallais. He had already been in England eight years earlier as a papal legate, and he would bring to this council ideas derived from local observation, as well as tried diplomatic skill.

Fugitives he sought out and put to the sword, but even so he was not satisfied. Innocent and guilty were involved in indiscriminate slaughter. Houses were destroyed, flocks and herds exterminated. Supplies of food and farm implements were heaped together and burned. With deliberate purpose, cruelly carried out, it was made impossible for men to live through a thousand square miles. Years afterwards the country was still a desert; it was generations before it had fully recovered. The Norman writer, Orderic Vitalis, perhaps following the king’s chaplain and panegyrist William of Poitiers, while he contesses here that he gladly praised the king when he could, had only condemnation for this deed.

Two papal legates crossing from England, Ermenfrid and a new one named Hubert, a synod of the Norman clergy, Queen Matilda, and her son Robert, all urged him to accept, and he yielded to their solicitation. Lanfranc was at this time sixty-five years of age. An Italian by birth, he had made good use of the advantages which the schools of that land offered to laymen, but on the death of his father, while still a young man, he had abandoned the path of worldly promotion which lay open before him in the profession of the law, in which he had followed his father, and had gone to France to teach and finally to become a monk.

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The history of England from the Norman conquest to the death of John (1066-1216) by George Burton Adams


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