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Unformatted text preview: ary 22, 2010) 199 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 his allegiance, and upbraided him with the breach of those conditions, which had been annexed to the oath of fealty, sworn by that nobleman.b David, king of Scotland, appeared at the head of an army in defence of his niece’s title, and penetrating into Yorkshire, committed the most barbarous 1138. War with devastations on that country. The fury of his massacres and Scotland. ravages enraged the northern nobility, who might otherwise have been inclined to join him; and William earl of Albemarle, Robert de Ferrers, William Piercy, Robert de Brus, Roger Moubray, Ilbert Lacy, Walter l’Espec, powerful barons in those parts, assembled an army, with which they encamped at North-Allerton, and awaited the arrival of the enemy. A great battle was here fought, called the battle of the Standard, from a high crucifix, erected by 22d August. the English on a waggon, and carried along with the army as a military ensign. The king of Scots was defeated, and he himself, as well as his son Henry, narrowly escaped falling into the hands of the English. This success over-awed the malcontents in England, and might have given some stability to Stephen’s throne, had he not been so elated with prosperity as to engage in a controversy with the clergy, who were at that time an overmatch for any monarch. Though the great power of the church, in ancient times, weakened the authority of the crown, and interrupted the course of the laws, it may be doubted, whether, in ages of such violence and outrage, it was not rather advantageous that some limits were set to the power of the sword, both in the hands of the prince and nobles, and that men were taught to pay regard to some principles and privileges. The chief misfortune was, that the prelates, on some occasions, 1139. acted entirely as barons, employed military power against their sovereign or their neighbours, and thereby often encreased those disorders, which it was their duty to repress. The bishop of Salisbury, in imitation of the nobility, had built two strong castles, one at Sherborne, another at the Devizes, and had laid the foundations of a third at Malmesbury: His nephew, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, had erected a fortress at Newark: And Stephen, who was now sensible from experience of the mischiefs attending these multiplied citadels, resolved to begin with destroying those of the clergy, who by their function seemed less intitled than the barons to such military securities.c Making pretence of a fray, which had arisen in court between the retinue of the bishop of Salisbury and that of the earl of Britanny, he seized both that prelate and the bishop of Lincoln, threw them into prison, and obliged them by menaces to deliver up those places of strength which they had lately erected.d Henry, bishop of Winchester, the king’s brother, being armed with a legantine commission, now conceived himself to be an ecclesiastical sovereign no less powerful than the civil; and forgetting the ties of blood which connected him with the king...
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