Книга Famous Men of The Middle Ages. Содержание - William the Conqueror King from 1066-1087

All silently they marched to a spot where the Moorish king, with thirty-six chieftains, lay encamped, and at daylight the knights of the Cid made a sudden attack. The king awoke. It seemed to him that there were coming against him full seventy thousand knights, all dressed in robes as white as snow, and before them rode a knight, taller than all the rest, holding in his left hand a snow-white banner and in the other a sword which seemed of fire. So afraid were the Moorish chief and his men that they fled to the sea, and twenty thousand of them were drowned as they tried to reach their ships.

There is a Latin inscription near the tomb of the Cid which may be translated: *Brave and unconquered, famous in triumphs of war, Enclosed in this tomb lies Roderick the Great of Bivar.*/

Edward the Confessor King from 1042-1066


The Danish kings who followed Canute were not like him. They were cruel, unjust rulers and all the people of England hated them. So when in the year 1042 the last of them died, Edward, the son of the Saxon Ethelred, was elected king.

He is known in history as Edward the Confessor. He was a man of holy life and after his death was made a saint by the Church, with the title of "the Confessor." Though born in England , he passed the greater part of his life in Normandy as an exile from his native land. He was thirty-eight years old when he returned from Normandy to become king.

As he had lived so long in Normandy he always seemed more like a Norman than one of English birth. He generally spoke the French language and he chose Normans to fill many of the highest offices in his kingdom.

For the first eight years of his reign there was perfect peace in his kingdom, except in the counties of Kent and Essex, where pirates from the North Sea made occasional attacks.

These pirates were mostly Norwegians, whose leader was a barbarian named Kerdric. They would come sweeping down upon the Kentish coast in many ships, make a landing where there were no soldiers, and fall upon the towns and plunder them. Then, as swiftly and suddenly as they had come, they would sail away homeward, before they could be captured.

One day Kerdic's fleet arrived off the coast, and as no opposing force was visible, the pirates landed and started toward the nearest town to plunder it.

By a quick march a body of English soldiers reached the town before the pirates, and when the latter arrived they found a strong force drawn up to give them battle. A short struggle took place. More than half of the pirates were slain and the remainder were taken prisoners.

After the prisoners had been secured the English ships that were stationed on the coast attacked the pirate fleet and destroyed it.


Edward took part in the events upon which Shakespeare, five hundred years later, founded his famous tragedy of "Macbeth."

There lived in Scotland during his reign an ambitious nobleman named Macbeth, who invited Duncan, the King of Scotland, to his castle and murdered him. He tried to make it appear that the murder had been committed by Duncan 's attendants and he caused the king's son and heir, Prince Malcolm, to flee from the land. He then made himself king of Scotland .

Malcolm hastened to England and appealed to King Edward for help.

When the king was told the number of soldiers Malcolm would probably need he gave orders for double that number to march into Scotland . Malcolm with this support attacked Macbeth, and after several well-fought battles drove the usurper from Scotland and took possession of the throne.

Edward did a great deal during his reign to aid the cause of Christianity. He rebuilt the ancient Westminster Abbey in London and erected churches and monasteries in different parts of England .

Edward was long supposed to have made many just laws, and years after his death the English people, when suffering from bad government, would exclaim, "Oh, for the good laws and customs of Edward the Confessor!" What he really did was to have the old laws faithfully carried out.

He died in 1066 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

William the Conqueror King from 1066-1087


On the death of Edward the Confessor the throne of England was claimed by William, Duke of Normandy.

When Edward took refuge in Normandy after the Danes conquered England , he stayed at the palace of William . He was very kindly treated there, and William said that Edward had promised in gratitude that William should succeed him as king of England .

One day in the year 1066 when William was hunting with a party of his courtiers in the woods near Rouen, a noble came riding rapidly toward him shouting, "Your Highness, a messenger has just arrived from England, bearing the news that King Edward is dead and that Harold, the son of Earl Godwin, has been placed on the English throne."

William at once called his nobles together and said to them, "I must have your consent that I enforce my claim to England 's throne by arms."

The barons gave their consent. So an army of sixty thousand men was collected and a large fleet of ships was built to carry this force across the channel.

During the months of preparation William sent an embassy to the English court to demand of Harold that he give up the throne. Harold refused.

Soon all England was startled by the news that William had landed on the English coast at the port of Hastings with a large force.

Harold immediately marched as quickly as possible from the north to the southern coast. In a week or so he arrived at a place called Senlac nine miles from Hastings , in the neighborhood of which town the Norman army was encamped. He took his position on a low range of hills and awaited the attack of William. His men were tired with their march, but he encouraged them and bade them prepare for battle.

On the morning of October 14, 1066 , the two armies met. The Norman foot-soldiers opened the battle by charging on the English stockades. They ran over the plain to the low hills, singing a war-song at the top of their voices; but they could not carry the stockades although they tried again and again. They therefore attacked another part of the English forces.

William, clad in complete armor, was in the very front of the fight, urging on his troops. At one time a cry arose in his army that he was slain and a panic began. William drew off his helmet and rode along the lines, shouting, "I live! I live! Fight on! We shall conquer yet!"

The battle raged from morning till night. Harold himself fought on foot at the head of his army and behaved most valiantly. His men, tired as they were from their forced march, bravely struggled on hour after hour.

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