Page 1285

1285 FEUDAL ASCENDENCY.-FEUDAL ENGLAND.

bestowed the coronet on his son. As for

Prince Henry, he took the five thousand

pounds bequeathed him by the late king, and

going into a reluctant retirement, set the

jealous eye of discontent on both his brothers.

The disposition of William Rurus and his

brothers was little conducive to friendly relations among them. Both Robert and the king

were turbulent spirits, and it was hardly

probable under the circumstances that they

would not soon come to blows. The situation

was such as greatly to embarrass the

vassals of the two princes. Many of

the nobles had estates both in England and in Normandy. All such

held a divided allegiance to William

and Robert, and it became their

interest either to preserve the peace

or else to dethrone either the duke or

the king. In a short time an alarming conspiracy was made in England

with a view to unseating William

and the placing of Robert on the

throne. The chief manipulator of

the plot was Bishop Odo, half-uncle

of Robert, who found in him a ready

and able servant. The Duke of

Normandy, for his part, promised to

send over an army to the support of

his confederates.

The conspiracy gathered head in

Kent and Durham, and in the West.

In these parts the revolt broke out

with violence. But there was little

concert of action, and the insurrection

made slow headway against the established order. The army of Duke

Robert was delayed until a fleet of

English privateers - first, perhaps,

of their kind in modern times-put

to sea and cut off the Norman squadron in detail. Since the movement

against the king proceeded exclusively from

his Norman subjects, the English rallied to

his banner. In order to encourage this

movement of the natives against his insurgent countrymen, he called together

the few Anglo-Saxon chiefs who had survived through twenty years of warfare,

and to them made pledges favorable to

their countrymen. It thus happened, by a

strange turn in the political affairs of

the kingdom, that the old English stock

revived somewhat in the favor of the royal

House. So, when the old Saxon proclamation was issued-"Let every man who

is not a man of nothing, whether he live

in burgh or out of burgh, leave his home

and come," - fully thirty thousand sturdy

yeoman mustered at the call.

The king at the head of his forces marched

against Bishop Odo, who had fortified himself in Rochester Castle. From thence

the rebels were presently driven into Pevensey,

where after seven weeks they were overthrown and scattered. Odo was taken

prisoner, and in order to save his life agreed

to give up Rochester Castle to the king

and to leave England forever. At this time,

however, the castle was held by Eustace,

earl of Boulogne, who making a pretense

of wrath and acting in collusion with Odo,

seized that prelate and drew him within

the walls. The defense was begun anew,

and was finally brought to a close by disease and famine rather than by assault.

When the castle was at last obliged to