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§ 24. Anselm and Henry I.


At the death of the Red King, one archbishopric, four bishoprics, and eleven abbeys were without pastors. Henry I., his younger brother, surnamed Beauclerc, ascended the throne (1100–1135). He connected the Norman blood with the imperial house of Germany by the marriage of his daughter Matilda to Henry V. After the emperor’s death, Matilda was privately married to Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou (1128), and became the mother of Henry II., the founder of the Plantagenet dynasty.

King Henry I. is favorably known by his strict administration of justice. He reconciled the clergy by recalling Anselm from exile, but soon renewed the investiture controversy. He instituted bishops and abbots, and summoned Anselm to consecrate them, which he steadfastly refused to do. He sent him into a second exile (1103–1106).113113    While in England, Anselm had celebrated the marriage of Henry to Matilda, or Eadgyth (as her English name was), daughter of the Scotch king Malcolm. Her aunt, a nun at Romsey, had placed the veil upon Eadgyth when she was a child as a protection against violence. There was a difference of opinion as to whether this was to be construed as a vow. Anselm pronounced her free. Ladies at the time of the Norman Conquest had temporarily put on the veil as a protection to their virtue. Lanfranc afterwards declared them free to marry.crifice of a little earthly power, reminding him that Paul circumcised Timothy, and went to the temple to conciliate the Jewish brethren.

Pascal II. excommunicated the bishops who had accepted investiture from Henry. But the king was not inclined to maintain a hostile attitude to Anselm. They had an interview in Normandy and appealed to the pope, who confirmed the previous investitures of the king on condition of his surrendering the right of investiture in future to the Church. This decision was ratified at Bec, Aug. 26, 1106. The king promised to restore to Anselm the profits of the see during his absence, to abstain from the revenues of vacant bishoprics and abbeys, and to remit all fines to the clergy. He retained the right of sending to vacant sees a congé d’élire, or notice to elect, which carried with it the right of nomination. Anselm now proceeded to consecrate bishops, among them Roger of Salisbury, who was first preferred to Henry’s notice because he "began prayers quickly and closed them speedily."114114    See Fuller,Ch. Hist. of Britain, I. 340.

Anselm returned to England in triumph, and was received by the queen at the head of the monks and the clergy. At a council held at Westminster in 1107,115115    A previous council had been held at Westminster in 1102. See Freeman, V. 221, 226, and Gee and Hardy, pp. 63 sq.e the archbishop promised to tolerate the ceremony of homage (which Urban II. had condemned). The synodical canons against clerical marriage were renewed and made more rigorous (1102, 1107, 1108); but the pope consented for a time that the sons of priests might be admitted to orders, for the remarkable reason, as Eadmer reports, that "almost the greater and the better part of the English clergy" were derived from this class.116116    Freeman, V. 223: "The newly devised rigor only led to laxity of a worse kind, which it was intended to stop. But, at any rate, it was now that the rule of celibacy became for the first time the universal law of the English Church. Anselm’s counsel at Westminster [that of 1102] thus marks an era in our ecclesiastical history."

During the remaining years of his life, Anselm enjoyed the friendship and respect of the king, and during the latter’s absence on the Continent in 1108, he was intrusted with the regency and the care of the royal family. He was canonized by the voice of the English people long before the formal canonization by the pope.117117    The canonization by Alexander III. came to nothing, but was renewed by Alexander VI. Dean Church says that Anselm "suffered the indignity of a canonization at the hands of Borgia."

After his death, in April, 1109, the primacy remained vacant till 1114, when it was conferred upon Ralph of Escures, bishop of Rochester, who had administered its affairs during the interval. He is described as a learned, cheerful, affable, good-humored, facetious prelate. He was called "nugax," but his jests and repartees have not been recorded. He and his two Norman successors, William of Corbeuil, 1123–1136. and Theobald, 1139–1161, lived on good terms with the king and his successor, Stephen. Thomas Becket, an English man, resumed, in 1162, the controversy between the mitre and the crown with greater energy, but less wisdom, than Anselm.




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