Bourne Archive: FNQ: Hereward VIII
http://boar.org.uk/ariwxo3FNQsupVIII.htm Latest edit 12 Aug 2009.
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De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis.
De prima ipsius militia ad Flandriam, unde tandem et novis quotidie ex virtutibus agnitus est, quum multum, quis tantus vir fuerit vel unde, exquisitum esset.
Iterum quippe Flandrensis comes cum quodam alio vicino comite de Ginnes warram habuit. Quum autem quotidie sui in expeditione ante castella et prædia monomachiam facere pergerent, Herwardus ut sibi saltem una die cum illis ingredi liceret multum deprecatus est. Quod tandem obtinuit, et sicut in armis strenuissime et comitatu belli edoctus, verum ita eadem die prudentur [prudenter] egit, militem quendam ab alio longe a comitatu obrutum forte jacentem, quem ipse solus protegendo, quatuor occisis invasoribus, liberavit et reduxit, cunctis admirantibus atque ambos in custodia æstimantibus captos. Ex qua re statim nominatissimus in palatio principis factus est, et præclarus inter robustissimos, intrans ex tunc cum illis et exiens, quotidie novas magnanimitates peragens in militia. Tamen semper multum quis tantus vir aut qualis vel unde fuerit princeps terræ dubitans, ab extraneis et mercatoribus valde illius notitiam scisciatur si forte nomen ipsius aut fama in ulla longinqua regione perciperetur, ita ut non longe prorsus defuerit inquisitioni ejus desiderata valde notitia. Quidam enim ante triennium in Hibernia talem virum atque virtute et facie consimilem se vidisse et multa de eo et prædicanda audisse dicebat, et hujus ex nomine vocatus, unde continuo compertis et illo advocato cum solo filio secretæ suæ in dolis notitiam multum prædictus comes inquirit, et nomen ac patriam atque dignitatem et genus jurans et confirmans sicut carissimum filium quicunque sit habiturus. Tandem de eo quæ audiverat vera fuisse professus est, et nomen et patriam et quomodo a patre expulsus in Cornubiam prius venerit, et post in Hiberniam, et causam illius loci adventus.
The Exploits of Hereward the Saxon.
Of his first fighting in Flanders, from which, and from his daily deeds of valour, he was at length discovered, when much enquiry was made as to who such a man could be, or whence he could come.
Then because the
Count of Flanders was at war with a certain neighbouring Count of Ginnes, when
his men daily proceeded to single combats in front of the castles and farms in
the campaign, Hereward anxiously implored him1 that he might at least be allowed to
go out with them for one day. And this permission he at length obtained. And as
he was well trained in arms and management of war, so he acted with prudence on
that same day, for there was a soldier lying overthrown by another far from the
company, whom he by himself defended, liberated, and brought back, killing four
men who attacked him ; to the admiration of all, for
they supposed both had been taken prisoners. From this he was immediately made
of very great account in the palace of the prince, and reckoned one of their
strongest men, from that time going in and out with them, daily accomplishing fresh
deeds of valour in fight. But the prince of the land being ever much in doubt
as to who or what or of what country such a man could be, enquired of
foreigners and merchants2 any news of him, if by chance his name or
fame were known in any distant land ; so that it was
not long before the much desired information was given to his enquiry. For
someone said that three years before he had seen such a man in Ireland3,
and like him in valour and appearance ; and that he
had heard many things told about him, and that he was called by his name ; on
which discovery, Hereward being summoned, the aforesaid count with his only son
questioned him as to object in this deceit, and asked his name and country and
dignity and family, assuring him with an oath that he would regard him as a
very dear son. At length he admitted that what he had heard of him was true,
and he told his name and country, and how being driven forth by his father he
had come first to
2. ↑ Here, merchants are explicitly mentioned so that we can be confident that the trade which was a feature of the later medieval period was already in being in the eleventh century. This mention tends to weakly corroborate the view we took of Gilbert of Ghent as a merchant.
3. ↑ This three-year span since the witness had seen Hereward in