Thursday, May 16, 2013

Odious to God

William the Second was a son of William the Conqueror. "Hateful to almost all his people and odious to God," he well might have been.  After the death of Archbishop Lanfrac, an Italian Norman who had been Archbishop of Canterbury, William was reluctant to name another Bishop to the postion and that way he was able to secure Church Revenues for his own purposes.  Then one day William fell sick, and he was able to convince himself that this sickness was a punishment from God, and he set about the business of appointing a new Archbishop of Canterbury. He chose another Italian Norman called Anslem, a brilliant politician who a hundred or so years after his death was recommended for Saint Hood by none other than Thomas Becket.  Saint Anslem of Canterbury died in the year 1109.

 William the Second's  nickname was William Rufus.  He had a "red faced" appearance and probably suffered from some sort of red blotchiness as I do.  He was 'flamboyant' and without entail. And it's possible that the good scribes of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles added this aspect of William's personality to their understanding of "odious to God."   William died while hunting.  The Anglo Saxon Chronicles suggest he was "shot by an arrow from one of his own men."  The arrow pierced his lung, he fell from his horse, and there in the forest he was abandoned by the nobles. His younger brother, Henry, raced to Winchester where the Royal Treasury was kept and within days Henry had himself crowned King of England. And I have told the Rabbit of Usk that I have no intention of going hunting with a marksman.

No comments: