Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When Christ & All His Saints Slept

By now the blue peeps weren't blue anymore (unless it was in their clan tartan, natch) & somewhat more civilized, so Henry took a wife from Scotland, Edith, & commenced breeding heirs. OK legitimate heirs. Henry had the most bastards in the history of English kings b/c he acknowledged 25 of them by other chicks. Ya gotta say WOW KUDOS TO YOU HANK!  One wonders how he had the time b/c he was also busy re-codifying English common law & was nicknamed the Lion of Justice b/c he was so interested in that stuff.  Sometime he was called Beauclerc b/c he was rather scholarly.  He also is credited w/ inventing the tally stick for counting his goodies.  Where he had the time to read & write & do Math when he was boffing this many chicks I am sure I dunno, but he did. He was the 1st Norman ruler to actually bother to learn to speak English.  They made all the Saxons speak French b4 that.

Unfortunately, his only legit son, another William, was partying w/ his pals on a Channel cruise, the mead was flowing, & apparently no one was paying much attn to steering. This was known as the Tragedy of the White Ship b/c BAM natch it hit a passel of rocks b/c it got stormy & busted up & kilt everyone on board, incl a few of the bastard sibs that were of an age to be partying w/ bro Will. Everyone was gloomy b/c that meant Henry's legit daughter Matilda, Empress of Germany, was now his heir, & peeps didn't take kindly to being ruled by chicks in those times.

Henry got married again quicklike to Adelicia of Louvain, but alas he was old & his astonishingly active little swimmers had gotten sluggish so there were no more little Henrys forthcoming. Matilda's hubby demised & she had no kidlets, either, but Henry made all his peeps swear allegiance to her anyway & married her off to a boy practically half her age called Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, in the hopes of legit issue. Matilda & Geoffrey were unfussed w/ this whole thing but eventually they done their duty & produced 3 lads for England, Henry, Geoffrey Jr, & William. Good thing b/c Henry was getting mighty old for that time when the average life expectancy was like 35.

But when Henry demised aged 66 (of a surfeit of lampreys, tis said, which means he was a greedy pig & ate far too many eels in one sitting), his nevvy Stephen of Blois, son of his sister Adela, was just as sneaky as Henry had been & scampered over to claim treasury & crown for his good self HA HA. Henry's peeps said OK b/c no one liked Matilda. Matilda was furious & said I don't think so & commenced warring.


This is known as the period when Christ & all His saints slept b/c there was anarchy & chaos & famine & really cold winters where even the Thames froze over & some of the peeps used the war btwn the 2 claimants to plunder & pillage their neighbors just b/c they could.  1st Stephen captured Matilda, but she escaped across the frozen Thames in a snowstorm wearing white, which was right clever, dontcha think? Then Matilda captured Stephen, but in the meantime his peeps captured Matilda's bastard bro & head military peep Robert of Gloucester, so the prisoners were exchanged.  No one was getting anywhere in this civil war & suffice to say it wasn't a nice time to visit England. Despite having the requisite set of cojones, Stephen wasn't a very good king & so peeps kept vacillating back & forth as to if he or Matilda were the lesser of 2 evils so lots of backstabbing. Finally Stephen's heir, Eustace, dropped dead, so an agreement was reached whereby Matilda would be passed over entirely & her eldest son Henry of Anjou would succeed Cousin Steve to the throne.....

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