33. HILDEBRAND (POPE GREGORY THE SEVENTH)
After the death of Pope Alexander II. above mentioned, next unto him followed Hildebrand, surnamed Gregory the Seventh. This Hildebrand, as he was a sorcerer, so was he the first and principal cause of all this perturbation that is now, and hath been since his time, in the church; by reason that through his example all this ambition, stoutness, and pride entered first into the Church of Rome, and hath ever since continued. For before Hildebrand came to Rome, working there his feats, setting up and displacing what bishops he listed, corrupting them with pernicious counsel, and setting them against emperors; under pretence of chastity destroying matrimony, and under the title of liberty breaking peace and resisting authority; before this I say the Church of Rome was in some order, and bishops quietly governed under Christian emperors, and also were defended by the same; as Marcellus, Meltiades, and Silvester were subdued, and under obedience to Constantine, An. 340; Siricius to Theodosius, An. 388; Gregorius to Mauricius, An. 600; Hilarius to Justinian, An. 528; Adriauus and Leo to Carolus Magnus, An. 801; Paschalis and Valentius to Ludovicus Pius, An. 830; Sergius II. to Lotharius, An. 840; Benedictus the Third, and Johannes the Ninth, unto Ludovicus, son of Lotharius, An. 856. But against this obedience and subjection Hildebrand first began to spurn, and by his example taught all other bishops to do the like.
Insomuch that at length they wrought and brought to pass, that it should be lawful for a few courtesans and cardinals (contrary to ancient ordinance and statutes decretal) to choose what pope they list, without any consent of the emperor at all. And whereas before it stood in the emperor's s gift to give and to grant bishoprics, archbishoprics, benefices, and other ecclesiastical preferments within their own limits, to whom they list; now the popes, through much wrestling, wars, and contention, have extorted all that into their own hands, and to their assignees; yea, have plucked in all the riches and power of the whole world, and, not content with that, have usurped and prevailed so much above emperors, that as before no pope might be chosen without the confirmation of the emperor; so now no emperor may be elected without the confirmation of the pope, taking upon them more than princes, to place or displace emperors at their pleasure for every light cause; to put down or set up when and whom they listed; as Fredericus Primus, for holding the left stirrup of the pope's saddle, was persecuted almost to excommunication. The which cause moveth me to strain more diligence here, in setting out the story, acts, and doings of this Hildebrand, from whom, as the first patron and founder, sprang all this ambition and contention about the liberties and dominion of the Romish church; to the inteat that such as cannot read the Latin histories may understand in English the original of evils, how and by what occasion they first began, and how long they have continued.
And, first, how this Hildebrand hitherto had behaved himself, before he was pope, I have partly declared. For though he was not yet pope in name, yet he was then pope indeed, and ruled the popes and all their doings as him listed. Item, what ways and fetches he had attempted, ever since his first coming to the court of Rome, to magnify and maintain false liberty against true authority; what practice he wrought by councils; what factions and conspiracies he made in stirring up popes against emperors, striving for superiority; and what wars followed thereof, I have also expressed. Now let us see further (by the help of Christ) the worthy virtues of this princely prelate, after he came to be pope, as they remain in histories of divers and sundry writers described.
Hitherto the bishops of Rome have been elected by voices and suffrages of all sorts and degrees, as well of the priests and the clergy as of the nobility, people, and senate, all conventing and assembling together. And this election so I find to stand in force, if so be it were ratified and confirmed by the consent of Roman emperors, who had authority to call and to assemble all these, as well as bishops, together unto councils as case required. Under the authority and jurisdiction of these emperors were contained, both in Germany, France, Italy, and through the whole dominion of Rome, all patriarchs, bishops, masters of churches and monasteries, by the decree of councils, according to the old custom of our ancestors, as is declared in a certain story in the Life of Carolus Magnus. The holy and ancient fathers (like as Christ our Lord with his disciples and apostles both taught and did) honoured and esteemed their emperors as the supreme powers next under God in earth, set up, ordained, elected, and crowned of God, above all other mortal men,and so counted them and called them their lords. To them they yielded tribute, and paid their subsidies; also prayed every day for their life. Such as rebelled against them, they took as rebels and resisters against God's ordinance and Christian piety. The name of the emperor then was of great majesty, and received as given from God. Then these fathers of the church never intermeddled nor entangled themselves with politic affairs of the commonwealth; much less occupied they martial arms and matters of chivalry. Only in poverty and modesty was all their contention with other Christians, who should be poorest and most modest among them. And the more humbleness appeared in any, the higher opinion they conceived of him. The sharp and two-edged sword they took, given to the church of Christ, to save, and not to kill; to quicken, and not to destroy; and called it the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, the life and light of men, and revoketh from death to life, making of men gods; of mortal, immortal. Far were they from that, to thrust out any prince or king (though he were never so far out of the way, yea, an Arian) from his kingdom, or to curse him, to release his subjects from their oath and their allegiance, to change and translate kingdoms, to subvert empires, to pollute themselves with Christian blood, or to war with their Christian brethren for rule and principality. This was not their spirit and manner then, but rather they loved and obeyed their princes. Again, princes loved them also like fathers and fellow princes with them of the souls of men. Now this Gregorius the Seventh, otherwise named Hildebrand, trusting upon the Normans, which then ruffled about Apulia, Calabria, and Campania, trusting also upon the power of Machtilda, a stout woman there about Rome; and partly, again, bearing himself bold for the discord among the Germans first of all others (contrary to the manner of elders) contemning the authority of the emperor, invaded the cathedral see of Rome, vaunting himself as having both the ecclesiastical and temporal sword committed to him by Christ, and that fulness of power was in his hand to bind and loose what so he listed. Whereupon thus he presumed to occupy both the regiments, to challenge all the whole dominion, both of the east and west church, yea, and all power to himself alone; abiding none to be equal, much less superior, unto him; derogating from others, and arrogating to himself, their due right and honour; setting at light Cæsars, kings and emperors, and who thus reigned by his own God-a-mercy. Bishops and prelates, as his underlings, he kept in awe, suspending and cursing, and chopping off their heads, stirring up strife and wars, sowing of discord, making factions, releasing oaths, defeating fidelity and due allegiance ef subjects to their princes. Yea, and if he had offended or injured the emperor himself, yet notwithstanding he ought to be feared, as he himself glorieth in a certain epistle, as one that could not err, and had received of Christ our Saviour, and of Peter, authority to bind and unbind at his will and pleasure. Priests then in those days had wives openly and lawfully, (no law forbidding to the contrary,) as appeareth by the deed and writings of their chapter seals and donations, which were given to temples and monasteries, wherein their wives also be cited with them for witness, and were called presbyterissæ. Also for bishops, prelates, parsons of churches, governors of the clergy, masters of monasteries, and religious houses; all these were then in those times in the emperor's ordination, to assign by voice or consent to whom he would. Now these two things this Pope Gregorius could not abide; for the which two causes only was all his striving and driving from his first beginning to abolish the marriage of priests, and to translate the authority imperial to the clergy. For to this scope only tended all his labour, practices, and devices, as appeared before in the Council of Lateran under Pope Nicholas, and also in the Council of Mantua under Alexander, making their marriage heresy, and the other to be simony. And that which before he went about by others, now he practiseth by himself, to condemn ministers that were married for Nicolaitans, and to receive any spiritual regiment of secular persons for simony; directing forth his letters upon the same to Henricus the emperor, to dukes, princes, powers, tetrarchs; namely, to Berchtoldus, to Rodulphus of Swevia, to Whelpo, Adalberon, and their wives; item, to bishops, archbishops, priests, and to all the people; in the which letters he denounceth them to be no priests so many as were married, forbid ding men to salute them, to talk, to eat, to keep company with them, to pay them tithes, or to obey them if they would not be obedient to him. Amongst all others, he directed special letters to Ottho, bishop of Constance, concerning this matter. But Ottho, perceiving the ungodly and unreasonable pretence of Hildebrand, would neither separate them that were married from their wives, nor yet forbid them to marry which were unmarried, &c.
The copy of the letter of Hildebrand sent to the bishop of Constance against priests' marriages.
Gregory, bishop, servant of servants of God, to the clergy and laity, both more and less, within the diocess of Constance, salutation and benediction. We have directed to our brother Ottho, your bishop, our letters exhortatory; wherein we enjoined him, according to the necessity of our duty, by the authority apostolical, that he should utterly abolish out of his church the heresy of simony, and also should cause with all diligence to be preached the chastity of priests. But he, neither moved with reverence of St. Peter's precept, nor yet with the regard of his duty, neglected to do these things, whereunto we so fatherly have exhorted him; incurring thereby a double offence, not only of disobedience, but also of rebellion, in that he hath gone and done clean contrary to our commandment; (yea, rather the commandment of blessed St. Peter); so that he hath permitted his clergy, not only such as had wives, not to put them away, but also such as had none, to take unto them. Whereupon we being truly informed thereof, and grieved there with, have directed to him another letter, declaring the motion of our displeasure and indignation. In which letters also we have cited him up to our council at Rome, there to appear and give account of his disobedience, in the audience of the whole synod. And now therefore we thought it best to signify this to you, our dear children, whereby in this behalf we might the better provide for your health and salvation. For if your bishop shall continue so obstinately to repngn and resist against our commandment, he is not meet to sit over you, &c. Wherefore these shall be to command you, and all them that be obedient to God, and to blessed St. Peter, by our apostolical authority, that if this your bishop shall persist in his obstinacy, you that be his subjects hereafter give to him no service nor obedience. For the which thing doing we here discharge you before God and your souls. For if your bishop shall seem contrary to the decreements and injunctions apostolical, we, through the apostolical authority of St. Peter, discharge and absolve you from the band of your allegiance to him. So that if you be sworn to him, so long as he is a rebel against God and the apostolic seat, we loose you from the peril of your oath, that you shall not need to fear therein any danger," &c.
Ottho, bishop of Constance, thus being cited, whether he did appear personally himself, I do not read. Thus I read and find, that in the said council holden at Rome, Hildebrand, with other bishops of Rome, did then enact, among many others, these three things most special. First, that no priest hereafter should marry. Secondly, that all such as were married should be divorced. Thirdly, that none hereafter should be admitted to the order of priesthood, but should swear perpetual chastity, &c. This council of Rome being ended, forthwith the act of Hildebrand concerning the single life of priests was proclaimed and published in all places, and strait commandment given to bishops to execute the same.
The copy of his bull sent into Italy and Germany.
Gregory the pope, otherwise Hildebrand, the servant of the servants of God, sendeth the apostles' blessing to all them within the kingdoms of Italy and Germany that show their true obedience to St. Peter. If there be any priests, deacons, and subdeacons that still will remain in the sin of fornication, we forbid them the church's entrance, by the omnipotent power of God, and by the authority of St. Peter, till time they amend and repent. But if they persevere in their sin, we charge that none of you presume to hear their service; for their blessing is turned into cursing, and their prayer into sin, as the Lord doth testify to us by his prophets, I will turn your blessing, &c."
The bishops of France, being called upon daily with the pope's letters, were compelled to obey the decree of the council; but the residue of the clergy manfully and stoutly withstanding the pope's decree and enforcement of their bishops, would not agree, but repined thereat, and said that the council did manifestly repugn against the word of God, and that the pope did take from priests that which both God and nature had given them; and therefore that person to be a heretic, and author of a wicked doctrine, which ruled and governed, not by the Spirit of God, but by Satan. The decree and act set forth to tend directly against the word of God, and the saying of Christ, All men have not the gift and capacity of this word. Item, to be against the sound doctrine of St. Paul, writing these words: As concerning virginity, I have no commandment of the Lord, &c. Again, He that can not otherwise live continently, let him marry. Item, that it was against the canons both of the apostles and of the Nicene Council. Moreover, that it was against the course of nature which he required, that men, being sequestered from their natural wives and women, should be coacted to live as angels; that is, to perform that which nature doth not give. And therefore the bishop therein did open a pernicious window to uncleanness and to fornication. In sum, giving up their answer, thus they concluded, that they had rather give np their benefices, than to forsake their natural and lawful wives against the word of Christ. And, finally, if married priests could not please them, they should call down angels from heaven to serve the churches. But Hildebrand, nothing moved, neither with honest reason, nor with the authority of Holy Scripture, nor with the determination of the Nicene Council, nor any thing else, followeth this matter; calleth upon the bishops still, with his letters and legates doth solicit their minds, accuseth them of negligence and dastardness, threateneth them with excommunication, unless they cause their priests to obey his decree enjoined them. Whereupon a great number of bishops, for fear of the pope's tyranny, laboured the matter with their priests by all means possible to bereave them of their accustomed matrimony.
Amongst other, the archbishop of Mentz, perceiving this act of taking away priests' marriage might breed him no little trouble, talketh with his clergy gently, admonisheth them of the pope's mind and decree, and giveth them half a year's respite to deliberate upon the case; exhorting them diligently to show themselves obedient to the pope and to him, and to grant with good-will that which at length (will they nill they) they must needs be forced unto, and therefore of their own accord to stand content therewith, lest the pope should be compelled to attempt ways of sharper severity. The time of deliberation expired, the archbishop assembleth his clergy at Erpsford, the month of October, and there willeth them, according to the pontifical decree, either to abjure for ever all matrimony, or else to renounce their benefices and ecclesiastical livings. The clergy again defend themselves against the pope's decree with Scriptures, with reason, with the acts of general councils, with examples of ancestors, by divers strong arguments, declaring the pope's decree not to be constant, nor ought to take effect. But the archbishop said he was compelled so of the pope, and could not otherwise do, but to execute that which was enjoined him.
The clergy, seeing that no reason, nor prayer, nor disputation would serve, laid their heads together, consulting among themselves what was best to be done. Some gave counsel not to return again to the synod, some thought it good to return and to thrust out the archbishop from his see, and to give him due punishment of death for his deserving, that by the example of him others may be warned here after never to attempt that thing any more, to the prejudice of the church, and the rightful liberty of ministers. After that this was signified to the archbishop by certain spies that were amongst them, what the clergy intended to do, the archbishop, to prevent and salve the matter, sendeth to the priests, as they were coming out, certain messengers, bidding them be of hope, and to return again to the metropolitan, and they should have that should content their minds. So, being persuaded, they come again to the council. The bishop promiseth he would do his endeavour what he could to revoke and turn the mind of the bishop of Rome from that sentence, willing them in the mean time to continue as they had done in their cure and ministry. The next year following, Hildebrand, the soldier of Satan, sendeth his legate (a certain bishop called Curiensis) unto the archbishop of Mentz, and assembled there a council. In the which the archbishop again proposeth the matter, commanding all the clergy, under pain of the pope's curse, there perpetually either to renounce their wives or their livings. The clergy defended their cause again with great constancy. But when no defence could take place, but all went by tyranny and mere extortion, it burst in the end to an uproar and tumult, where the legate and the archbishop, being in great danger, hardly escaped with their lives, and so the council brake up. By this schism and tumult it followed that the churches after that, in choosing their priests, would not send them to the bishops (the enemies and suppressors of matrimony) to be confirmed and inducted, but did elect them within themselves, and so put them in their office without all leave or knowledge of the bishops, who then agreed and were determined to admit no priests but such as should take an oath of perpetual singleness, never to marry after. And thus first came up the oath and profession of single priesthood. Notwithstanding, if other nations had followed the like constancy and concord of those German ministers, the devilish drift and decree of this Hildebrand (or rather hellbrand) had been frustrate and avoided. But this greediness of livings in weak priests made them to yield up their godly liberty to wicked tyranny. Yet this remaineth in these Germans to be noted, what concord can do in repressing the inordinate requests of evil bishops, if they constantly stand to the truth, and hold together. And thus much for banishing of matrimony. Now let us proceed to the contests between wicked Hildebrand and the godly emperor. But before, by the way of digres sion, it shall not be much from the purpose to touch a little of the properties of this pope, as we find them described in certain epistles of Benno, a cardinal, writing to other cardinals of Rome; which Benno lived in the same time of Hildebrand, and detecteth the prodigious acts and doings of this monstrous pope.
First, declaring that he was a sorcerer most notable, and a necromancer, an old companion of Sylvester, of Laurentius and Theophylactus, called otherwise Benedictus Nonus. Amongst others, Benno Cardinalis writeth this history of him: "How upon a certain time this Gregorius, coming from Albanus to Rome, had forgot behind him his familiar book of necromancy, which he was wont commonly to carry always with him. Whereupon remembering himself, entering the port of Lateran, he calleth two of his most trusty familiars to fetch the book, charging them at no hand to look within it. But they being so restrained, were the more desirous to open it, and to peruse it, and so did. After they had read a little the secrets of the Satanical book, suddenly there came about them the messengers of Satan, the multitude and terror of whom made them almost out of their wits. At length, they coming to themselves, the spirits were instant upon them to know wherefore they were called up, wherefore they were vexed; quickly (said they) tell us what ye would us to do, or else we will fall upon you, if ye retain us longer. Then spake one of the young men to them, bidding them go and pluck down yonder walls, pointing unto certain high walls there nigh to Rome, which they did in a moment. The young men, crossing them for fear of the spirits, (scarce recovering themselves,) at length came to their master." And it followeth moreover in the epistle of the said Benno to the cardinals:
"We have made mention to you before of divers colleges of the Church of Rome which refused to communicate with him; as Leo, then archpriest of the cardinals, Benno, Ugobaldus, Johannes the cardinal, Peter, chancellor and cardinal, being all instituted before this Hildebrand. These three also being consecrated by him, that is, Natro, Innocentius, and Leo, forsook him, cursing the detestable errors which he held. In like case Theodinus, whom he constituted archdeacon, and other cardinals more, Johannes surnamed Primicerius, Petros Oblationarius, with all that appertained to them, saving one only man. And now, when this Hildebrand saw that the bishops also would forsake him, he called unto him the laymen, and made them privy of his council, thinking thereby to separate the bishops, that they should have no conference with the cardinals. After that he called together those bishops; and being guarded with bands of laymen, he enforced the bishops, partly for fear, and partly for his menacing words, to swear unto him, that they should never disagree unto that which he would have done, that they should never defend the king's quarrel, and that they should never favour or obey the pope that should in his stead be in stituted. Which thing being done, he sent them, by means of the prince of Salernites, into Campania; and thus did he separate them from the company of the cardinals, and from the city of Rome. And not only the bishops, but also the priests of the city and clerks of inferior orders, as also the laymen, he bound by their oaths, that at no time nor for any cause they should condescend unto the king.
"As soon as Pope Alexanderwas dead, which died somewhat before night, the same day, contrary to the canons, he was chosen pope of the laymen. But the cardinals subscribed not to his election. For the canons prescribed (under pain of cursing) that none should be chosen pope before the third day after the burial of his predecessor. But he (by sinister means thus climbing to the see) removed the car dinals of the said see from being of the council. But with what persons he consulted night and day Rome well heard and saw. And he now putting the cardinals from his council, his life, faith, and doctrine no man could accuse or bear witness of; whereas in the canons is commanded, that in every place wheresoever the pope is should be with him three cardinals being priests, and two deacons, be cause of his ecclesiastical testimony and style of verity; of which canonical decree you heard, gentle reader, before. He violently wrested the sacred Scriptures to cover his falsehood, which kind of idolatry, how great it is, manifestly through all the Scripture appeareth. Contrary to the minds and counsel of the cardinals, and besides the determinate order of pronouncing judgment by the canons, he rashly did excommunicate the emperor, being in no synod solemnly accused before. The sentence of which excommunication, after rehearsal of these presents, shall also be manifested (Christ willing); to the which excommunication," saith Benno, "none of the cardinals wonld subscribe. As soon as he arose out of his seat papal to excommunicate the emperor, the same seat (being made but a little before with big timber) suddenly by the appointment of God was rent and shivered in pieces; so that all men might plainly understand what and how great and terrible schisms that lubber had sown against the church of Christ, against the seat of St. Peter, and how cruelly he had dispersed the chair of Christ, in defiling the laws of the church, ruling by might and austerity in that his so perilous and presumptuous excommunication.
"In the description of the same excommunication he inserteth those things wherein he himself erred, when he absolved the emperor being unjustly excommunicate, and the bishops also communicating with him; and to the uttermost thus cutting and mangling the unity of the church, and those that communicated with them, did as much as in him lay to make two churches.
"Also the same bold merchant commanded that the cardinals should fast, to the intent that God would reveal whose opinion was better (whether of the church of Rome or of Berengarius) touching the controversy of the Lord's body in the sacrament. And hereby he proved himself to be a manifest infidel, for that in the Nicene Council it is written, He that doubteth is an infidel.
"Further, he sought for a sign to establish his faith concerning the article of the Lord's body; as did Gregory to confirm the woman's faith, when the consecrated bread was transubstantiated into the form of a fleshly finger. He also sent two cardinals (Attones and Cunones) unto Anastase, that with the archpriest of the same church they should begin a fast of three days' space, and that every of them (every day during those three days) should say over the Psalter, and sing masses, that Christ would show unto them some such-like sign of his body as he did to the foresaid Gregory; which thing they could not see.
"The emperor was wont oftentimes to go to St. Mary's church in the Mount Aventine to pray. Hildebrand, when he had by his espials searched out and knew all the doings of the emperor, caused the place where the emperor was accustomed (either standing or prostrate on his face) to pray to be marked, and for money be hired a naughty pack' (like himself) to gather and lay together a heap of great stones directly over the place in the vault of the church where the emperor would stand, that in throwing the same down upon his head he should slay the emperor. About which purpose as the hireling hasted, and was busy, removing to the place a stone of great hugeness and weight, it broke the plank whereon it lay; and the hireling standing thereupon, both together fell down from the roof to the pavement of the church, and with the same was dashed all in pieces. And after the Romans had understanding of the handling of this matter, they fastened a rope to one of the feet of this hireling, and caused him to be drawn through the streets of the city three days together in example to others. The emperor notwithstanding, according to his wonted clemency, caused him to be buried.
"Johannes, bishop of Portua, (being one of the secret council of Hildebrand,) came up into the pulpit of St. Peter, and amongst other things, in the hearing both of the clergy and people, said, Hildebrand and we have committed such a deed and so horrible, for the which we are all worthy to be burned alive, (meaning of the sacrament of the body of Christ,) which sacrament Hildebrand, when he thereof inquired a divine answer against the emperor, and it would not speak, threw into the fire and burned it, contrary to the persuasion of the cardinals that were there present, and would have resisted the same.
"In the second holy-day in the Easter week, when the clergy and the people were assembled at St. Peter's church to hear mass, after the Gospel, he went up into the pulpit, as he was in his pontifical attire, and in the presence of divers bishops and cardinals (a great company both of the senate and the people of Rome being gathered together) openly preached (among many other words of divination) that the king, whose name was Henry, should die (without all peradventure) before the feast of St. Peter next ensuing; or else at leastwise that he should be so dejected from his kingdom, that he should not he able any more to gather together above the number of six knights. This he preached to the bishops and cardinals, and all that were present, crying out of the pulpit in these words: Never accept me for pope any more, but pluck me from the altar, if this prophecy be not fulfilled by the day appointed. About the same time he went about by help of privy murderers to kill the emperor, but God preserved him. And many there were even at that time which thought Pope Hildebrand to be guilty, and to be the deviser of the treason, because that then he (before the deed put in execution) presumed of the death of the king, being by him falsely prophesied of before; which words of his wounded many men's hearts. And it came to pass that Hildebrand by his words was openly condemned in the congregation, which (as is said) gave judgment of himself to be no pope, neither that he would be counted for pope any longer, but thought to be both a belier and a traitor, unless that before the feast of St. Peter next coming the emperor should die, or else should be deprived of all kingly honour, insomuch as he should not be able to make above six knights on his part. And thus by the appointment of God it came to pass, that by his own mouth he was condemned for a heretic.
"Thus saith the Lord: The prophet who of arrogancy will prophesy in my name those things I have not commanded him, or else will prophesy in the name of other gods, let him be slain. And if, thou shalt say with thyself, How shall I know what thing it is that the Lord hath not commanded to be spoken? this token shalt thou have to know it by: whatsoever things the prophet in the name of God shall prophesy, and the same come not to pass, that mayest thou be sure the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath imagined through the haughtiness of his own mind, and therefore thou shalt not be afraid of him.
"When the time was expired that Hildebrand in his divination had set, and that neither the king was dead, neither the power of the empire impaired, and fearing lest by the words of his own mouth he should be reprehended and condemned, subtlely be turned his tale, saying, and persuading the ignorant people, that he meant not of the body of the king, but of his soul; as though the soul of the king had lost all, saving six of his knights or soldiers, or else had been dead during that space: and thus by these sleights he beguiled the ignorant people. About such prophets St. Gregory Ezekiel saith, Between true prophets and false this difference there is, that true prophets, if they speak any thing upon their own mind, they be soon rebuked; but the false prophets, both they tell lies, and not having the spirit of truth, they persevere in their falsity.
"Over and beside, the said Hildebrand judged to death three men before they were convict, or else confessed their crime, without the sentence of any secular judge, and caused them to be hanged upon a pair of gallows, over against the church of St. Peter, in a place called Palatiolum, without any delay or advisement, contrary to the laws, which command that every public offender should have thirty days' space before he be put to execution. Which thing even amongst the pagans is in use and observed, as teacheth the authority of St. Ambrose, and the martyrdom of holy Marcellianus and Marcus.
"He cast Centius, the son of Stephen the alderman, into prison, being before his trusty friend; and in a vessel, being thick set with sharp nails, he tormented him to the point of death, who, after he was escaped, apprehended the said Hildebrand. Of this apprehension, before he was set at liberty, he openly forgave all the conspirators. Which thing afterwards, contrary to his fidelity, he brake and revenged, and caused Centius, to whom he had for given all offences, to be taken, and hanged him and nine of his men upon the gallows before St. Peter's porch.
"There was at the apprehension of Pope Hildebrand, a certain widow's sons, to whom (and others more for their penance) he enjoined a year's banishment. Which time being run out, the widow, in token of more ample satisfaction, thinking there by to have appeased the mind of Hildebrand, put a halter about her son's neck, and drawing her son by the rope unto the foot of Hildebrand, said, My lord pope, at your hands will I receive again my son, which one whole year hath endured banishment and other penance by your holiness enjoined. Then the said Hildebrand for that instant, because of those which were with him in company, (dissembling his wrath,) delivered her her son very churlishly, saying, Get thee hence, woman, I bid thee, and let me be in rest. After this he sent his officers, and appre hended the widow's son, and gave commandment to the justices to put him to death; who all together making answer, said that they could no more condemn or meddle with him, for that he had for his crime committed appealed once to the pope, and endured the banishment, and done the penance by him enjoined. Hereupon this glorious Hildebrand, displeased with the judges, caused the foot of the widow's son to be cut off, making neither repentance, nor the laws and ordinances, to be of any estimation with him; and thus his foot being cut off, he died within three days after with the pain thereof. Many other wicked deeds did this Hildebrand, upon whom the blood of the church crieth vengeance, shed by the sword. (that is,) the miserable treachery of his tongue; for which things (and that justly) the church refused to communicate with him."
Another epistle of Benno to the cardinals.
"To the reverend fathers of the Church of Rome, and to his beloved in Christ, and to his brethren that shall for ever be beloved, Benno, the cardinal of the Church of Rome, wisheth faithful service, health, and communion with the servants of the catholic church. Of the which communion, discipline, and power he vainly braggeth, that by the presumption of his authority shall unjustly bind or loose any manner of person. And he doth unjustly bind, whatsoever be be, that curseth any man (being willing to make satisfaction, and bewailing his boldness, being also unconvict, and not confessing the crime); but rather, cursing that party in vain, he curseth and condemneth himself, turning his weapon upon his own person to his destruction. O strange and new-found treachery proceeding from the sanctuary! nay, rather from him which as high priest seemeth to rule the church, and to be a judge over the judges."
Hildebrand was earnestly in hand with the emperor, that he should deprive those bishops which came in by simony. The emperor (thinking, as a zealous prince, that this commission had proceeded from the throne of God) without delay obeyed the same, and forthwith, without any consideration or judicial order, deprived certain bishops, and thought that by this his obedience to Hildebrand he offered an acceptable sacrifice to God, not knowing the crafty handling of him. But Hildebrand then again placed those whom the emperor for simony at his commandment had before deposed, and those whom by that means he made to bear a hateful heart to the emperor he reconciled again unto himself in great familiarity; and by many and great oaths taken Of them, for their fidelity towards him, he promoted them above all the rest. And thus, by these pranks, the imperial seat of the king being shortly after impaired, and destitute almost of friends, he craftily purchasing the friendship and favour of the greatest princes, the better to bring his matters to pass, suddenly again, without any lawful accusation, without any canonical vocation, without all judicial order, he excommunicated the emperor, (so obedient always unto him,) and set the princes of the empire all against him. And notwithstanding (as the apostle saith) that no man ought to circumvent his brother in his business, as much as in him lay he rather mortified and killed him than brotherly corrected him. Thus the emperor, being many ways circumvented, as excommunicated besides the canonical order, and by the consent and counsel of Hildebrand spoiled of the greatest part of his imperial honour, and overcharged with great wars and slaughters of his own subjects, in vain desired and sued to have the canon read and heard, causing him by force and violence at Canusium, in the presence of Hildebrand, to accuse himself by his own confession.
Say you now, (I pray you,) all such as love justice, and love not to lean either upon the left hand, or else the right hand, in the favour of any person; say your minds, whether that such a confession, being forced upon never so poor a man, (much more upon an emperor,) ought at such a time to be prejudicial or not? or whether he, which extorted the same confession, is guilty of the canon? or else he which, being so perversely judged, suffered the injury of a most perverse judge? Which also most patiently and publicly suffered this violence with lamentable affliction upon his bare feet, clothed in thin garments, in the sharp winter, which never was used, and was three days together at Canusium made a spectacle both of angels and men, and a ludicrious mocking-stock to that proud Hildebrand. Never trust me, if that fourteen cardinals, the archdeacon himself, and he that is called Primicerius, being all wise and religious men, besides many other of the clerks of Lateran, (to the judgment and privilege of whose holy seat the whole worid is obedient,) weighing and considering his intolerable apostacy, departed not from participating, and refused communicating with him.
This glorious Hildebrand, and his affinity, by their new authority breaking the decrees of the Chalcedon council, not only in words, but also in public writings, have agreed that it is tolerable both to baptize and communicate being out of the church of God; and how blind these men were, and also what heretics they be, their own writings do declare. What a mischief is this? (saith Bcnno,) they presume to judge of the church which swarm themselves in all errors, who also esteem the verity but as a lie; and lest their poisoned falsehood both in words and writings should appear, they have, like subtle poisoners, (the sooner to deceive,) mixed honey therewithal. A lie, saith St. Augustine, is every thing pronounced with the intent of deceiving of others.
It were too long and tedious here to recite all the detestable doings and diabolical practices of conjurings, charms, and filthy sorceries, exercised between him, and Laurentius, and Theophylact, otherwise named Pope Benedict the Ninth, whereof a long narration followeth in the foresaid epistle of Benno to the cardinals to be seen, to whom the reader may repair, whoso hath either leisure to read or mind to understand more of the abominable parts and devilish acts of this Hildebrand.
About what time Hildebrand was made pope, Henricus the Fourth, emperor, was encumbered and much vexed with civil dissension in Germany, by reason of certain grievances of the Saxons against him and his father Henricus the Third. Where upon the matter growing to sedition, sides were taken, and great wars ensued betwixt Otho, duke of Saxony, and Henricus the emperor. This busy time seemed to Hildebrand very opportune to work his feats, whose study and drift was ever from the beginning to advance the dominion of the Romish seat above all other bishops, and also to press down the authority of the temporal rulers under the spiritual men of the church. And although he went about the same long before, by subtle trains and acts set forth concerning simony; yet now he thought more effectually to accomplish his purposed intent, after that he was exalted thither where he would be. And therefore now bearing himself the bolder, by the authority of St. Peteis throne, first he began to pursue the act set out by his predecessor, as touching simony, cursing and excommunicating, whoso ever they were, that received any spiritual living or promotion at laymen's hands, as also all such as were the givers thereof. For this he called then simony, that under that colour be might defeat the temporal powers of their right, and so bring the whole clergy at length to the lure of Rome. And forsomuch as the emperor was the head, thinking first to begin with him, he sendeth for him by letters and legates to appear in the Council of Lateran at Rome. But the emperor, busied in his wars against the Saxons, had no leisure to attend to councils. Notwithstanding Gregorius the pope proceedeth in his council, rendering there the cause and reason before the bishops why he had excommunicated divers of the clergy, as Herman, bishop of Bamberge, counsellor to the emperor, and other priests more, for simony. And there moreover in the said council he threateneth to excommunicate likewise the emperor himself, and to depose him from his regal kingdom, unless he would renounce the heresy of simony, and do penance. The council being ended, Guibertus, archbishop of Ravenna, persuaded with one Centius (a Roman, the captain's son, whom the pope had excommunicated) to take the emperor's part against the pope; who watching his time in the temple of St. Mary, upon Christmas day in the morning, taketh the pope, and putteth him fast in a strong tower. The next day the people of Rome, hearing this, harness themselves with all expedition to help the bishop, whom when they loosed out of prison, they besieged the house of Centius, and plucked it down to the ground; his family, having their noses cut off, were cast out of the city; Centius himself, escaping, fled to the emperor. Guibert the archbishop, pretending good will to the pope, departed from Rome, who likewise had wrought with Hugo Candidus, cardinal, and with Theobaldus, archbishop of Millain, also with divers other bishops about Italy, to forsake the pope, and take the emperor's part. Gregory the pope, called Hildebrand, bearing the conspiracy, layeth the sentence of excommunication upon them all, and depriveth them of their dignity. The emperor being moved (not unworthily) with the arrogant presumption of the proud prelate, called together a council at Wormes. In which council all the bishops, not only of Saxony, but of all the whole empire of Germans, agree and conclude upon the deposition of Hildebrand, and that no obedience hereafter should be given to him. This being determined in the council, Roulandus, a priest of Parmen, was sent to Rome with the sentence, who in the name of the council should command Gregory to yield up his seat, and also charge the cardinals to resort to the emperor for a new election of another pope. The tenor of the sentence sent by Roulandus was this.
The sentence of the Council of Wormes against Hildebrand.
"Forsomuch as thy first ingress and coming in hath been so spotted with so many perjuries, and also the church of God brought into no little danger through thine abuse and newfangleness; moreover, because thou hast defamed thine own life and conversation with so much and great dishonesty, that we see no little peril or slander to rise thereof; therefore the obedience, which yet we never promised thee, here after we utterly renounce, and never intend to give thee. And as thou hast never taken us yet for bishops, (as thou hast openly reported of us,) so neither will we hereafter take thee to be apostolic. Vale."
Gregory the pope, tickled with this sentence, first condemneth it in his Council of Lateran with excommunication. Secondly, depriveth Sigifridus, archbishop of Mentz, of his dignities and ecclesiastical livings, with all other bishops, abbots, and priests, as many as took the emperor's part. Thirdly, accuseth Henricus the emperor himself, depriveth him of his kingdom and regal possession, and releaseth all his subjects of their oath of allegiance given unto him, after this form and manner.
The tenor of the sentence excommunicatory against Henrieus the emperor by Hildebrand.
"O blessed St. Peter, prince of the apostles, bow down thine ears, I beseech thee, and hear me thy servant, whom thou hast brought up even from mine infancy, and hast delivered me until this day from the hands of the wicked, which hate and persecute me, because of my faith in thee. Thou art my witness, and also the blessed mother of Jesus Christ, and thy brother St. Paul, fellow partner of thy martyrdom, how that I entered this function not willingly, but enforced against my will; not that I take it so as a robbery lawfully to ascend into this seat; but because that I had rather pass over my life like a pilgrim or private person, than for any fame or glory to climb up to it. I do acknowledge (and that worthily) all this to come of thy grace, and not of my merits, that this charge over Christian people, and this power of binding and loosing, is committed to me. Wherefore, trusting upon this assurance for the dignity and tuition of holy church in the name of God omnipotent, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I do here depose Henry, the son of Henry once the emperor, from his imperial seat and princely government, who hath so boldly and presumptuously laid hands upon thy church. And furthermore, all such as heretofore have sworn to be his subjects, I release them of their oath, whereby all subjects are bound to the allegiance of their princes. For it is meet and convenient that he should be void of dignity which seeketh to diminish the majesty of thy church. Moreover, for that he hath contemned my monitions, tending to his health and wealth of his people, and hath separated himself from the fellowship of the church, (which he, through his seditions, studieth to destroy,) therefore I bind him by virtue of excommunication, trusting and knowing most certainly that thou art Peter, in the rock of whom (as in the true foundation) Christ our King hath built his church."
The emperor, thus assaulted with the pope's censure, sendeth abroad his letters through all nations to purge himself, declaring how wrongfully and against all right he was condemned. The princes of Almany, partly fearing the crack of the pope's thunderclap, partly again rejoicing that occasion was renewed to rebel against the emperor, assembled a commencement, where they did consult and so conclude to elect another emperor, and so fall from Henry, unless the pope would come to Germany, and he would there be content to submit himself and obtain his pardon.
Wherein is to be considered the lamentable affections of the Germans in those days, so to forsake such a valiant emperor, and so much to repute a vile bishop. But this was the rudeness of the world then, for lack of better knowledge. The emperor, seeing the chief princes ready to forsake him, promiseth them with an oath, that if the pope would repair to Germany, he would ask forgiveness.
Upon this the bishop of Triers was sent up in commission to Rome, to entreat the pope to come into Germany. The bishop (at the instance of the legate and of the princes) was content. He entered into Germany, thinking to come to Augusta. After he was come to Vercellos, the bishop of that city (being the chancellor of Italy, and desirous to disturb peace for the old grudge he had to the emperor) falsely persuaded with the pope, that he was certain the emperor was coming with a mighty great army against him, counselling him therefore to provide betimes for his own safeguard in some stronger place. Whereby the pope's mind being altered, he retired back to Canusium or Canossus, a city being subject to Matilda, a countess of Italy, where he should not need to fear the emperor.
Henricus understanding the false fear of the pope, and of his retire to Canusium, incontinent (coming out of Spires with his wife and his young sun, in the deep and sharp of winter) resorteth to Canossus. All his peers and nobles had left him for fear of the pope's curse, neither did any accompany him. Wherefore the emperor, being not a little troubled, (laying apart his regal ornaments,) came barefooted with his wife and child to the gate of Canossus, where he from morning to night (all the day fasting) most humbly desireth absolution, craving to be let in to the speech of the bishop. But no ingress might be given him once within the gates. Thus he continuing three days together in his petition and suit, at length answer came, that the pope's majesty had yet no leisure to talk with him. The emperor, nothing moved therewith, that he was not let into the city, patient and with a humble mind abideth without the walls, with no little grievance and painful labour; for it was a sharp winter, and all frozen with cold. Notwithstanding, yet through his importunate suit at length it was granted, through the entreating of Matilda, the pope's paramour, and of Arelaus, earl of Sebaudia, and the abbot of Cluniake, that he should be admitted to the pope's speech. On the fourth day being let in, for a token of his true repentance, he yielded to the pope's hands his crown, with all other ornaments imperial, and confessed himself unworthy of the empire, if ever be do against the pope hereafter, as he hath done before, desiring for that time to he absolved and forgiven. The pope answereth, be will neither forgive him, nor release the bond of his excommunication, but upon conditions. First, to promise that he shall be content to stand to his arbitrament in the council, and to take such penance as he shall enjoin him; also that he shall be prepared and ready to appear, in what place or time the pope shall appoint him. Moreover, that he, being content to take the pope judge of his cause, shall answer in the said council to all objections and accusations laid against him, and that he shall never seek any revengement herein. Item, that he (though he be quit and cleared therein) shall stand to the pope's mind and pleasure, whether to have his kingdom restored or to lose it. Finally, that before the trial of his cause, he shall neither use his kingly ornaments, sceptres, or crown, nor usurp the authority to govern, nor to exact any oath of allegiance upon his subjects, &c. These things being promised to the bishop by an oath, and put in writing, the emperor is only released of excommunication. The tenor of the writing is this:
The form and tenor of the oath which Henricus made to the pope.
"I Henricus, king, after peace and agreement made to the mind and sentence of our Lord Gregorius the Seventh, promise to keep all covenants and bonds betwixt us, and to provide that the pope go safely wheresoever he will, without any danger either to him or to his retinue; especially in all such places as be subject to our empire. Nor that I shall at any time stay or hinder him, but that he may do that belongeth to his function, where and whensoever his pleasure shall be. And these things I bind myself with an oath to keep."
Thus the matter being decided betwixt them, after the pope's own prescribement, the emperor taketh his journey to Papia. The pope with his cardinals did vaunt and triumph with no little pride that they had so quailed the emperor, and brought him on his knees to ask them forgiveness. Yet notwithstanding, mistrusting themselves, and misdoubting time, what might befall them hereafter if fortune should turn, and God give the emperor to enjoy a more quiet kingdom; therefore, to prevent such dangers betime, they study and consult privily with themselves how to displace Henry clean from his kingdom, and how that device might safely be conveyed. They conclude and determine to derive the empire unto Roduiphus, a man of great nobility amongst the chiefest states of Germany; and also to incite and stir up all other princes and subjects (being yet free and discharged from their oaths) against Henry, and so by force of arms to expel the emperor out of his kingdom. To bring this purpose the better to pass, legates were sent down from the pope, Sigehardiis, patriarch of Aquilia, and Altimanus, bishop of Padway, which should persuade through all France, that Henry the emperor was rightfully excommunicated, and that they should give to the bishop of Rome their consents in choosing Rodulphus to be emperor. This being done, there was sent to the said Rodulph, duke of Suevia, a crown from the pope with this verse:
The Rock gave the crown to Peter,
Peter giveth it to Rodulph.
Here, by the way of digression, (to make a little gloss upon this barbarous verse,) two notable lies are to be noted. One where he lieth upon Christ, the other where he lieth upon St. Peter. First, that Christ gave any temporal diadem to Peter, it is a most manifest lie, and against the Scriptures, whenas he would not take it being given to himself, and saith his kingdom is not of this world. Again, where be saith that Peter giveth it to Rodulph, here he playeth the poet, for neither had Peter any such thing to give; and if he had, yet he would not have given it to Rodulphus from the right heir; neither is it true that Peter did give it, because Hildebrand gave it. For it is no good argument, Hildebrand did give it, ergo, Peter did give it; except ye will say, Hildebrand stirred up great wars and bloodshed in Germany, ergo, Peter stirred up great wars in Germany. So Peter neither could, nor would, nor did give it to Rodulphus, but only Hildebrand the pope; who after he had so done, he gave in commandment to the archbishop of Mentz and of Cullen to elect this Rodulphus for emperor, and to anoint him king, and also to defend him with all force and strength they might.
While this conspiracy was in hand, Henricus the emperor was absent, and the pope's ambassadors with him also. In the mean space, Rodulphus was elected emperor, unknown to Henry. Upon this cometh the bishop of Stausborough unto the emperor, certifying him what was done. He, suspecting and seeing the stomach and doings of the Saxons so bent against him, mustereth his men with expedition, and marcheth forward to defend his right; but first sendeth to Rome, (trusting upon the league betwixt him and his pope,) and requireth the bishop to proceed with his sentence against Rodulphus, for the rebellious invasion of his empire. But the bishop, minding nothing less, sendeth word again, that it was not right to condemn any person, his cause being not heard; thus under pretence of the law colouring his unlawful treachery. Henricus, thus disappointed and forsaken on every side, with his men about him attempted battle against Rodulphus. In which battle a marvellous great slaughter was on both sides, but the victory on neither part certain; so that both the captains yet challenged the empire. After the battle and great murder on both sides, they both sent to Rome, to know of the pope's determination, to whether of them two he judged the right title of the empire to appertain. The bishop commandeth them both to break up their armies, and depart the field, promising that he shortly would call a council where this matter should be disputed; in the mean time they should cease from war. But before the messengers returned again, (their armies being refreshed,) they had another conflict together, but not victory got on either part. Thus both the captains being wearied in wars, the Romish beast, the bishop, which was the cause thereof, perceiving whither these cruel wars would tend, to the great calamity not only of the Germans, but also of other nations, (trusting to find another way to help Rodulphus and his adherents,) sendeth down a commission by Otho, archbishop of Trevers, Bernardus, deacon, and Bernardus, abbot of Massilia; to whom he gave in charge that they should call together a council or sitting in Almany, and that there it should be defined to whether part the empire should pertain, by most right and public consideration; promising that what they should therein determine he (looking upon the matter through the authority of God omnipotent, and of St. Peter, and St. Paul) would ratify the same. Moreover, for that no let nor impeachment should happen to the legates by the way, he giveth with them letters to the princes and nations of Germany; whereof the contents be declared briefly in Platina, if any list to read them.
But the emperor would not so permit the legates to have any council within Germany, except they would first deprive Rodulphus of his kingdom. The legates, considering that to be against the drift and intention of the pope, returned again from whence they came. The pope hearing this, and seeing his purpose was so disappointed by the emperor, draweth out another excommunication against him, and again bereaveth him of his kingdom; sending about his letters excommunicatory throughout all places, thinking thereby to further the part of Rodulphus the better.
Furthermore, Hildebrand interdicteth and deposeth also Guibertus, archbishop of Ravenna, for taking the emperor's part; commanding all priests to give no manner of obedience to him, and sendeth thither to Ravenna another archbishop with full authority.
After and upon this, Henricus and Rodulphus, to try the matter by the sword, coped together in battle, not without bloodshed, where Henrieus, by the favour of God, against the judgment of Hildebrand, had the victory. Rodulphus, there greatly wounded in the conflict, was had out of the army, and carried to Hyperbolis, where he commanded the bishops and chief doers of his conspiracy to be brought before him. When they came, he lifted up his right hand, in which be had taken his deadly wound, and said, This is the hand which gave the oath and sacrament unto Henrieus my prince, and which through your instigation so oft hath fought against him in vain; now go and perform your first oath and allegiance to your king, for I must to my fathers; and so died. Thus the pope gave battle, but God gave the victory.
Henricus (after his enemy being thus subdued, and wars being ceased in Germany) forgat not the old injuries received of Hildebrand, by whom he was twice excommunicated and expelled from his kingdom, and three days making humble suit (yea, and that in sharp winter) could find no favour with him. Besides that, he incited moreover and aided his enemy against him. Wherefore he calleth to gether a council or assembly of divers bishops of Italy, Lombardy, and Germany, at Brixia, 1083, where he purged himself, and accused the bishop Hildebrand of divers crimes, to be a usurper, perjured, a necromancer and sorcerer, a sower of discord; complaining moreover of wrongs and injuries done by the bishop and Church of Rome, in that the Church of Rome preferred the bishop before him; when that his father, being emperor before him, had enthronized and set in divers and sundry bishops there by his assignment, without all others' election. And now this bishop, contrary to his oath and promise made, thrust in himself without the will and knowledge of him, being their king and magistrate. For in the time of his father, Henricus the Third, this Hildebrand with other bound themselves with a corporal oath, that so long as the emperor and his son, now being king, should live, they should neither themselves presume nor suffer any other to aspire to the papal seat, without the assent and ap probation of the foresaid emperors; which now this Hildebrand, contrary to his corporal oath, had done. Wherefore the foresaid council with one agreement condemned this Gregory, that he should be deposed.
This being enacted and sent to Rome, they elected Guibertus, archbishop of Ravenna, in the place of Hildebrand, to govern the Church of Rome, named Clemens the Third. But when Hildebrand neither would give over his hold, nor give place to Clement, the emperor, gathering an army to send to Italy, came to Rome to depose Gregory, and to place Clement. But Hildebrand, sending to Matilda the countess before mentioned, required her (in remission of all her sins) to withstand Henry the emperor, and so she did. Notwithstanding Henricus
prevailing came to Rome, where he besieged the city all the Lent, and after Easter got it, the Romans being compelled to open the gates unto him; so he coming to the temple of St. Peter, there placeth Clement in his papacy. Hildebrand straight flieth into Adrian's tower with his adherents, where he being beset round about at length sendeth for Robert Guiscardus his friend, a Norman. In the mean time, while Robertus collecteth his power, the abbot of Cluniake, conferring with Gregory, exhortethhim to crown Henricus emperor in Lateran. Which if he would do, the other promiseth to bring about that Henry should depart with his army into Germany; whereunto the people of Rome also did likewise move him. To whom Gregory answered, that he was content so to do, but upon condition that the emperor would submit himself to ask pardon, to amend his fault, and to promise obedience. The emperor, not agreeing to those conditions, went to Senas, taking Clement, new stalled pope, with him.
After the return of the emperor, the foresaid Robert Guiscardus, approaching with his soldiers, burst in at one of the gates, and spoileth the city; and not long after delivereth Hildebrand out of his enemies' hands, and carried him away to Campania, where he, not long continuing after, died in exile.
Antonius writeth, that Hildebrand, as he did lie a dying, called to him one of his chief cardinals, bewailing to him his fault and misorder of his spiritual ministry, in stirring up discord, war, and dissension; whereupon he desired the cardinal to go to the emperor, and desire him of forgiveness, absolving from the danger of excommunication both him and all his partakers, both quick and dead.
Thus hast thou, gentle reader, the full history of Pope Gregory the Seventh, called Hildebrand, which I have laid out more at large, and desire thee to mark, because that from this pope, if thou mark well, springeth all the occasions of mischief, of pomp, pride, stoutness, presumption, and tyranny, which since that time hath reigned in his successors hitherto, in the cathedral church of the Romish clergy. For here came first the subjection of the temporal regiment under the spiritual jurisdiction; and emperors, which before were their masters, now are made their underlings. Also here came in the suppression of priests' marriage, as is sufficiently declared. Here came in moreover the authority of both the swords spiritual and secular into spiritual men's hands. So that Christian magistrates could do nothing in election, in giving bishoprics or benefices, in calling councils, in hearing and correcting the excesses of the clergy; but only the pope must do all. Yea, moreover, no bishop nor pastor in his own parish could excommunicate or exercise any discipline amongst his flock, but only the pope challenged that prerogative to himself. Finally, here came in the first example to persecute emperors and kings with rebellion and excommunication, as the clergy themselves hereafter do testify and witness in proceeding against Paschalis. Thus these notes being well observed, let us (by the grace of Christ) now repair again to our country history of England.
34. SUMMARY OF THE REIGN AND CHARACTER OF WILLIAM I.
About the death of Pope Hildebrand (or not long after) followed the death of King William the Conqueror, in the year 1090, after he had reigned in England the space of one nnd twenty years and ten months. The cause of his sickness and death is said to be this: For that Philip the French king upon a time (jesting) said that King William lay in childbed, and nourished his fat belly. To this the foresaid William, hearing thereof, answered again, and said, when he should be churched, he would offer a thousand candles to him in France, wherewithal the king should have little joy. Whereupon King William in the month of July (when the corn, fruit, and grapes were most flourishing) entered into France, and set on fire many cities and towns in the west side of France. And lastly, coming to the city of Meaux, where he burning a woman, being as a recluse in a wall enclosed, (or, as some say, two men anchorites enclosed,) was so fervent and furious about the fire, that with the heat, partly of the fire, partly of the time of the year, thereby he fell into sickness, and died upon the same.
By the life and acts of this king it may appear true, as stories of him report, that he was wise, but guileful; rich, but covetous; a fair speaker, but a great dissembler; glorious in victory and strong in arms, but rigorous in oppressing whom he overcame, in levying of tasks passing all others. Inso much that he caused to be enrolled and numbered in his treasury every hide of land, and owner thereof; what fruit and revenues surmounted of every lordship, of every township, castle, village, field, river, and wood, within the realm of England. Moreover, how many parish churches, how many living cattle, there were, what and how much every baron in the realm could dispend, what fees were belonging, what wages were taken, &c. The tenor and contents of which taskment yet remaineth in rolls. After this tasking or numbering, which was the year before his death, followed an exceeding murrain of cattle, and barrenness of the ground, with much pestilence and hot fevers among the people, so that such as escaped the fever were consumed with famine. Moreover, at the same season, among certain other cities, a great part of the city of London, with the church of Paul's, was wasted with fire in the year of our Lord 1085.N hunting and in parks the foresaid king had such pleasure, that in the country of Southampton, by the space of thirty miles, he cast down churches and townships, and there made the New Forest; loving his deer so dearly, as though he had been to them a father, making sharp laws for the increasing thereof, under pain of losing both the eyes. So hard he was to Englishmen, and so favourable to his own country, that a there was no English bishop remaining, but only Wolstan of Worcester, who being commanded of the king and Lanfranc to resign up his staff, partly for inability. partly for lack of the French tongue, refused otherwise to resign it, but only to him that gave it, and so went to the tomb of King Edward, where he thought to resign it, but was permitted to enjoy it still; so likewise in his days there was almost no Englishman that bare office of honour or rule in the land. Insomuch that it was half a shame at that time to be called an Englishman. Notwithstanding he some deal favoured the city of London, and granted unto the citizens the first charter that ever they had, written in the Saxon, with green wax sealed, and contained in few lines.
Among his other conditions, this in him is noted, that so given he was to peace and quiet, that any maiden being laden with gold or silver might pass through the whole realm without harm or resistance. This William in his time builded two monasteries; one in England, at Battle in Sussex, where he won the field against Harold, called the abbey of Battle; another besides, named Barmondsey, in his country of Normandy.
A little above mention was made of the bishop's see of Shireborne, translated from thence to Salisbury. The first bishop of Salisbury was Hirmannus, a Norman, who first began the new church and minster of Salisbury. After whom succeeded Osmundus, who finished the work, and replenished the house with great living, and much good singing. This Osmundus first began the ordinary which was called Secundum usum Sarum, An. 1076. The occasion whereof was this, as I find in an old story book entitled Eulogium. A great contention chanced at Glastenbury between Thurstanus the abbot and his convent, in the days of William the Conqueror. Which Thurstanus the said William had brought out of Normandy from the abbey of Cadonum, and placed him abbot of Glastenbury. The cause of this contentious battle was, for that Thurstanus contemning their choir service, then called the use of St. Gregory, compelled his monks to the use of one of William, a monk of Fiscam in Normandy. Whereupon came strife and contentions amongst them, first in words, then from words to blows, after blows then to armour. The abbot, with his guard of harnessed men, fell upon the monks, and drave them to the steps of the high altar, where two were slain, eight were wounded with shafts, swords, and pikes. The monks, then driven to such a strait and narrow shift, were compelled to defend themselves with forms and candlesticks, wherewith they did wound certain of the soldiers. One monk there was, (an aged man,) who, instead of his shield, took an image of the crucifix in his arms for his defence, which image was wounded in the breast by one of the bow-men, whereby the monk was saved. My story addeth more, that the striker incontinent upon the same fell mad; which savoureth of some monkish addition besides the text. This matter being brought before the king, the abbot was sent again to Cadonum, and the monks by the commandment of the king were scattered in far countries. Thus, by the occasion hereof, Osmumdus, bishop of Salisbury, devised that ordinary which is called the use of Sarum, and was afterward received in a manner through all England, Ireland, and Wales. And thus much for this matter, done in the time of this Kind William.
Which William after his death, by his wife Matildis, or Maud, left three sons, Robert Courtsey, to whom he gave the duchy of Normandy; William Rufus, his second son, to whom he gave the kingdom of England; and Henry the third son, to whom he left and gave treasure; and warned William to be to his people loving and liberal, Robert to be to his people stern and sturdy.
In the history called Jornalensis, it is reported of a certain great man, who about this time of King William was compassed about with mice and rats, and flying to the midst of a river; yet when that would not serve, came to the land again, and was of them devoured. The Germans say that this was a bishop, who, dwelling between Cullen and Mentz, in time of famine and dearth, having store of corn and grain, would not help the poverty crying to him for relief, but rather wished his corn to be eaten up of mice and rats. Wherefore, being compassed with mice and rats, (by the just judgment of God,) to avoid the annoyance of them, he builded a tower in the midst of the river of Rheine (which yet to this day the Dutchmen call Rats' Tower); but all that would not help, for the rats and mice swam over to him in as great abundance as they did before, of whom at length he was devoured.