Rebellion and Retribution
King William departed for Normandy in March 1067.
"... the king went over sea, and had with him hostages and money ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript E
William of Poitiers says that the king's ships ("equipped with white sails after the manner of the ancients") sailed from Pevensey ("a place whose name is worthy of record since in that part he had first landed"), where William "liberally" rewarded some knights who had fought for him and were now returning home.
A key element of Norman tactics was the rapid construction of castles. Indeed, according to Master Wace, they even brought the prefabricated components of a castle with the invasion fleet:
"The carpenters ... held great axes in their hands and they had adzes and mattocks hanging by their sides... Then they threw down from the ships and dragged on land the wood which the Count of Eu had brought there, all pierced and trimmed. They had brought all the trimmed pegs in great barrels. Before evening, they had built a small castle with it and made a ditch round it, creating a great fortress there."
A castle could be a simple timber enclosure, built on an earth bank and surrounded by a ditch ('ringwork'). The typical castle, however, was of 'motte and bailey' design - an enhanced version of the ringwork, where, attached to the enclosed area (the 'bailey'), is a high earth mound (the 'motte'), topped by a tower which forms the strong-point of the castle. At many sites the timber fortifications were later rebuilt in stone.
He delegated the government of England to, his friend since boyhood, William fitz Osbern (whom he had made earl of Hereford, and whom he now based in, the newly constructed, Winchester Castle) and, his half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux (whom he had made earl of Kent, and who was based at Dover Castle). Manuscript D of the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' reports that the duo:
"... wrought castles widely through this country, and harassed the miserable people; and ever since has evil increased very much. May the end be good, when God will!"  Note
William of Poitiers, as might be expected, puts a different spin on their activities:
"... Odo bishop of Bayeux and William fitz Osbern laudably performed their respective stewardships in the kingdom; sometimes they acted singly and sometimes together... Also the local governors, each placed in a castle, zealously administered their districts [Add.03]... But neither fear nor favour could so subdue the English as to prefer peace and tranquility to rebellions and disorders... They repeatedly sent envoys to the Danes or to anyone else from whom they could hope for help."
One of those from whom the English sought help was Count Eustace of Boulogne. Eustace was a prominent figure at the battle of Hastings, and, according to William of Poitiers, in the closing stages of the battle he had been seriously wounded. Since then, however, he had fallen-out with King William and returned to Boulogne. The Englishmen of Kent, "goaded to rebellion by Norman oppression" (says Orderic Vitalis), despite a previous unpleasant encounter with the count ....
In 1051, Eustace had travelled to England, to visit his brother-in-law, King Edward. On his return journey, Eustace was involved in a skirmish at Dover - an event which was the catalyst for Earl Godwine's rebellion (see: Godwine: The Glorious Earl).
.... saw him as a suitable alternative to King William. They sent ambassadors, urging Eustace to make sail for England, and attack Dover castle - Bishop Odo, with most of the garrison of the castle, being otherwise occupied beyond the Thames. Eustace obliged, and, with the aid of Kentish forces, assailed the castle. The defenders, though, resisted fiercely. Orderic says that Eustace "feared a shameful defeat" and signalled his men to return to the ships. A vigorous sally from the castle caught Eustace's retreating men on-the-hop, and, thinking that Odo and his men had arrived, they took to panicked flight. Though Eustace himself managed to escape, many of his men died in the chaos, and his nephew was taken prisoner. The Norman garrison was too small to pursue the Kentishmen, who fled in all directions.
As a result of this adventure, which probably took place in the autumn of 1067, Eustace, not surprisingly, forfeited the English property he had been granted by King William. More surprisingly, perhaps, Eustace and William were reconciled within a few years.
It was the zealous administration of one Richard fitz Scrob (who had actually settled in England during Edward's reign), that caused the rebellion of Eadric 'the Wild'. Eadric was a thegn in the Welsh Marches, owning land in Herefordshire and Shropshire. Florence of Worcester says that Eadric's land:
"... because he refused to surrender himself up to the king, the garrison of Hereford and Richard fitz Scrob frequently devastated; but as often as they sallied out against him they lost many of their knights and esquires."  Add.04
Eadric called on the assistance of Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, kings of north Wales, and:
"... about the Assumption of St.Mary [15th August], laid waste the province of Hereford, up to the bridge over the river Lucge [Lugg], and brought back great spoil."
Of course, many Englishmen had accepted Norman rule:
"At that time Ealdred, archbishop of York, and some of the other bishops were acting in the king's interests (Note) ... At that time too some of the most able citizens of the towns, some native knights of wealth and good name, and many of the common people rose unequivocally on the Norman side against their fellow countrymen."
Orderic Vitalis
King William, being alarmed by the reports and rumours which were reaching him from across the Channel, returned to England - leaving Dieppe on the night of 6th December, arriving at Winchelsea the next morning (Note). He spent Christmas at London. In passages, presumably, derived from William of Poitiers, Orderic Vitalis emphasises the king's diplomatic skills in his dealings with the English:
"He was at great pains to appease everyone ... Such skilful conduct often brings back to the fold persons whose loyalty is doubtful. As for the Normans, sometimes he would school them to behave with the same artful attention, sometimes he would warn them, behind the backs of the English, never to relax for a moment. Every city and district which he had visited in person or occupied with his garrisons obeyed his will. But in the marches of his kingdom, to the west and north, the inhabitants were still barbarous, and had only obeyed the English king in the time of King Edward and his predecessors when it suited their ends."
"And he imposed a heavy tax on the wretched people; but, notwithstanding, let his men always plunder all the country that they went over ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"Exeter was the first town to fight for liberty ... A great force of citizens held it, young and old seething with anger against every inhabitant of Gaul. Further, they had repeatedly sent for allies from the neighbouring districts, had detained foreign merchants with any aptitude for war, and had built or restored their towers and battlements as they judged necessary. They sent envoys urging other cities to combine with them in similar measures, and prepared to fight with all their strength against the foreign king, with whom they had had no dealings before that time."
Orderic Vitalis
William demanded that the chief citizens of Exeter swear fealty to him. They replied that they would neither swear fealty, nor allow him within their walls, but they would continue to pay their customary tribute to the Crown. The king was not amused.
"... he marched on them in force, and for the first time called out Englishmen in his army."
Orderic Vitalis
Realising their predicament, the chief citizens went to meet William's advancing army. They begged for peace, offered to let him enter the city, promised to obey him, and gave him hostages. However, when they returned to Exeter, their fellow citizens, believing they would be punished anyway, carried on with their preparations for a fight. The king, now only four miles away, was furious. He rode to the city to find the gates closed and the walls manned. He had one of the hostages blinded in front of the gates, but the citizens would not surrender. William lay siege to the city.
"... he marched to Devonshire, and beset the city of Exeter eighteen days. There were many of his army slain ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D  Note
"Finally the citizens were compelled by the unremitting attacks of the enemy to take wiser counsel and humbly plead for pardon... As they humbly threw themselves on his mercy, that just prince graciously granted them pardon and forgave their guilt ..."
Orderic Vitalis
Manuscript D of the 'Chronicle' comments that William: "... promised them well, and performed ill; and the citizens surrendered the city because the thegns had betrayed them."  The 'Domesday Book', however, shows that Exeter's obligations to the Crown were not increased.  Add.05
"He chose a spot within the walls where a castle was to be built ... He himself went on further into Cornwall. After putting down every disturbance that came to his notice he disbanded his army, and returned to Winchester to celebrate the feast of Easter [23rd March 1068] there."
Orderic Vitalis
"Soon after this came the Lady Matilda hither to this land; and Archbishop Ealdred hallowed her to queen at Westminster on Whit Sunday [11th May 1068]."  Note
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"In the same year the noble youths Edwin and Morcar, sons of Earl Ælfgar [of Mercia d.1062], rebelled, and many others with them; so that the realm of Albion was violently disturbed by their fierce insurrection. For when King William had made his peace with Earl Edwin, granting him authority over his brother and almost a third of England, he had promised to give him his daughter in marriage; but later, listening to the dishonest counsels of his envious and greedy Norman followers, he withheld the maiden from the noble youth, who greatly desired her and had long waited for her. At last his patience wore out, and he and his brother were roused to rebellion, supported by a great many of the English and Welsh... Bleddyn king of the Welsh came to the help of his uncles, bringing a great army of Welshmen with him....
Orderic is wrong here. Edwin and Morcar were not Bleddyn's uncles.  Add.06
.... After large numbers of the leading men of England and Wales had met together, a general outcry arose against the injustice and tyranny which the Normans and their comrades-in-arms had inflicted on the English. They sent envoys into every corner of Albion to incite men openly and secretly against the enemy. All were ready to conspire together to recover their former liberty, and bind themselves by weighty oaths against the Normans. In the regions north of the Humber violent disturbances broke out. The rebels prepared to defend themselves in woods, marshes, and creeks, and in some cities. The city of York was seething with discontent, and showed no respect for the holy office of its archbishop when he tried to appease it... To meet the danger the king rode to all the remote parts of his kingdom and fortified strategic sites against enemy attacks. For the fortifications called castles by the Normans were scarcely known in the English provinces, and so the English - in spite of their courage and love of fighting - could put up only a weak resistance to their enemies. The king built a castle at Warwick ... After this Edwin, Morcar, and their men, unwilling to face the doubtful issue of a battle, and wisely preferring peace to war, sought the king's pardon and obtained it at least to outward appearance."
Orderic Vitalis
"This summer [1068] ..."  Note
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"... Mærleswein and Gospatric, and all the nobler Northumbrians, to avoid the severity of the king, and dreading the imprisonment which so many had suffered, sailed to Scotland, with Edgar, ætheling, his mother Agatha, and his two sisters Margaret and Christina, and wintered there under the protection of Malcolm, king of Scots. Now king William came with his army to Nottingham ..."
Florence of Worcester
"... he went to Nottingham, and wrought there a castle ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
Geffrei Gaimar says that, from Nottingham, the king sent Archbishop Ealdred to York with a message. William offered safe-conduct to the thegns of the city and surrounding area - if they came and swore fealty, they would retain their ancestral holdings. When they came, however, he imprisoned them and distributed their land "to the French". Orderic Vitalis, though, asserts that, when the men of York heard of William's advance to Nottingham:
"... they were terrified, hastened to surrender lest worse befell, and sent the king hostages and the keys of the city. As he was very doubtful of their loyalty he fortified a castle in the city, and left trustworthy knights to guard it."
The bishop of Durham (Æthelwine), who had "returned to the king's favour" was sent, as William's emissary, to King Malcolm:
"Malcolm, although he had already been wooed by the English rebels and had prepared a strong force to send to their aid, was ready to listen to the envoys and lay down arms; he gladly sent back with the bishop of Durham ambassadors to swear fealty and obedience to King William on his behalf... When this was done the king retired, building castles at Lincoln, Huntingdon and Cambridge on his way, and garrisoning them strongly."
Orderic Vitalis
Orderic says that the wives of a number of Normans serving in England, who were too scared to join their husbands, sent "message after message" to the men, urging their return home. The women in question, who were "consumed by fierce lust", said that, unless the men came home quickly, they would take "other husbands". The men dreaded being branded as traitors if they returned home, but dreaded, just as much, the dishonour that the behaviour of their "lascivious wives" could bring on their families. It appears that several Normans chose to leave England: "They returned to Normandy to oblige their wanton wives; but neither they nor their heirs were ever able to recover the fiefs which they had held and chosen to abandon."
"Amidst this came one of Harold's sons from Ireland with a naval force into the mouth of the Avon unawares, and plundered soon over all that quarter; whence they went to Bristol, and would have stormed the town; but the people bravely withstood them....
Actually, there was more than one of Harold's sons on the raid. Florence names them as Godwine, Edmund and Magnus. Gaimar, though, says that there were two of Harold's sons, Godwine and Edmund, plus Tostig, the son of Swein. The Swein in question is probably Harold's brother, who died in 1052. Orderic Vitalis, whilst not mentioning this particular raid, does say that two of Harold's sons had fled to "Dermot king of Ireland" i.e. Diarmaid, king of Leinster and Dublin (with whom their father, and uncle Leofwine, had taken refuge in 1051-2).
.... When they could gain nothing from the town, they went to their ships with the booty which they had acquired by plunder; and then they advanced upon Somersetshire, and there went up; and Eadnoth, the staller, fought with them; but he was there slain, and many good men on either side; and those that were left departed thence."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
At the end of 1068, William appointed Robert de Comines to Gospatric's, now vacant, earldom - i.e. Northumbria beyond the Tees (Note). What happened when the new earl arrived in the North is described most graphically by Symeon of Durham, in his 'Historia Ecclesiae Dunelmensis' (History of the Church of Durham):
"When the Northumbrians heard of this man's arrival, they abandoned their houses, and made immediate preparation for flight; but a sudden snow-storm and a frost of extreme severity supervening, effectually prevented them from putting their intentions into practice. They all, therefore, came to the resolution of either murdering the earl or of themselves dying together. When the bishop [Æthelwine, bishop of Durham] met the earl he told him of this plot, and advised him to return. But the other was not permitted to hearken to these words of counsel, for he was one of those persons who paid the wages of their followers by licensing their ravagings and murders; and he had already killed many of the rustics of the church. So the earl entered Durham with seven hundred men, and they treated the householders as if they had been enemies. Very early in the morning, the Northumbrians having collected themselves together, broke in through all the gates, and running through the city, hither and thither, they slew the earl's associates. So great, at the last, was the multitude of the slain, that every street was covered with blood, and filled with dead bodies. But there still survived a considerable number, who defended the door of the house in which the earl was, and securely held it against the inroads of the assailants....
In the 'Historia Regum', Symeon says that the earl was in "the bishop's dwelling".
.... They [the Northumbrian assailants], on their part, endeavoured to throw fire into the house, so as to burn it and its inmates; and the flaming sparks flying upwards caught the western tower, which was in immediate proximity, and it appeared to be on the very verge of destruction. The people knelt down on their knees and besought St.Cuthbert to preserve his church from burning; and immediately a wind arose from the east which drove the flames backwards from the church, and entirely freed it from all danger. The house, however, which had caught fire, continued to blaze; and of those persons who were within it some were burnt, some were slaughtered as soon as they crossed its doors; and thus the earl was put to death along with all his followers, save one, who escaped wounded. This occurred on the second of the kalends of February [31st Jan 1069]."  Note
In the 'Historia Regum', the date appears as "the fifth of the kalends of February [28th January]". Orderic Vitalis says that it was five hundred knights who entered Durham, and they were all killed but two.
"Soon afterwards Edgar the Ætheling came with all the Northumbrians to York ....
Mærleswein and Gospatric included, says Orderic.
.... and the townsmen made a treaty with him ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"William called Malet, who was castellan there, sent word to the king that he would be compelled to surrender unless his beleaguered forces were speedily relieved. Swift was the king's coming ..."
Orderic Vitalis
"... King William came from the South unawares on them with a large army, and put them to flight, and slew on the spot those who could not escape; which were many hundred men; and plundered the town. St.Peter's minster he made a profanation, and all other places also he despoiled and trampled upon ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"The king remained a further eight days in the city, built a second castle, and left Earl William fitz Osbern as castellan there. He himself returned to Winchester with a thankful heart, and celebrated Easter there. The English made one further attack on both castles after the king's departure; but they could not prevail against Earl William and his men who engaged them hotly in one of the baileys, killing and capturing many whilst the remainder prolonged their lives for a while through flight."
Orderic Vitalis
"... and the ætheling went back again to Scotland."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"Whilst he was quelling the storms of war that rose on every side, King William sent his beloved wife Matilda back to Normandy so that she might give up her time to religious devotions in peace, away from the English tumults, and together with the boy Robert [their eldest son] could keep the duchy secure."
Orderic Vitalis
"After this came Harold's sons from Ireland, about midsummer, with sixty-four ships into the mouth of the Taw [on Devon's north coast], where they unwarily landed: and Earl Breon [Brian of Brittany] came unawares against them with a large army, and fought with them, and slew there all the best men that were in the fleet; and the others, being small forces, escaped to the ships: and Harold's sons went back to Ireland again."  Note
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
This is the last mention of raiding by Harold's sons. William's problems in the North, however, were far from over. King Swein II of Denmark (Swein Estrithson), encouraged by English requests for his intervention, decided to press his claim to the throne of England. Accordingly, he sent "a great fleet", say Orderic and Gaimar - "240 ships", say Manuscript D and Florence; "300 ships", says Manuscript E - to England. Amongst the leaders of the expedition were three of Swein's sons (Harald, Cnut and, only named by Gaimar, Beorn Leriz) and his brother, Osbeorn, who appears to have been commander-in-chief:
"... between the two feasts of St.Mary [i.e. between 15th August and 8th September 1069], they... came from the east from Denmark ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript E
"Landing at Dover they were attacked by royal forces and driven off to Sandwich, where they were again repulsed by the Normans. They seized an opportunity of landing and plundering around Ipswich, but the inhabitants rallied against them, killed thirty, and drove the rest away. When they landed at Norwich on a similar foray Ralph of Gael fell upon them, killed many, drove others to their death by drowning, and forced the rest to take shameful flight to their ships and put to sea. King William at the time was enjoying one of his regular hunting expeditions in the Forest of Dean. The moment he heard of the coming of the Danes he sent a messenger to York to tell his men to prepare for an attack and send for him if they were hard pressed. The custodians of the castles there replied that they could hold out without help for a year."
Orderic Vitalis
The Danish fleet sailed onwards up the coast, and entered the Humber:
"... where they were met by Eadgar cild [Edgar the Ætheling] (Note), and Earl Waltheof, and Mærleswegen [Mærleswein], and Earl Gospatric with the Northumbrians, and all the landsmen; riding and marching full merrily with an immense army: and so all unanimously advanced to York ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"... on Saturday, the 13th of the kalends of October [19th September], the Normans who kept the forts set fire to the houses adjacent to them, fearing that they might be of use to the Danes in filling up the trenches [i.e. the defensive ditches around the castles]; and the flames spreading, attacked the whole of the city, and entirely consumed it, together with the monastery of St.Peter. But this was most speedily followed by a heavy infliction of the divine vengeance. For on Monday, before the whole of the city was entirely burnt, the Danes arrived with their fleet ..."
Florence of Worcester
"Waltheof, Gospatric, Mærleswein ... were in the advance guard and led the Danish and Norse forces. The garrison made a rash sally to attack them and engaged them ill-advisedly within the city walls. Unable to resist such numbers they were all slain or taken prisoner."
Orderic Vitalis
"... the Danes assailing the castles on one side, the Northumbrians on the other, they took them by storm the same day. And more than three thousand of the Normans being slaughtered, and William Malet, who then held the office of sheriff, with his wife and two children, and Gilbert de Gant, and a very few others being preserved alive, the Danes returned to their ships with untold spoils, and the Northumbrians to their abodes."
Symeon of Durham 'Historia Regum'
"The king was filled with sorrow and anger, and mustering his army made all speed to join battle. But the enemy, fearing the conqueror, had fled across the Humber and landed on the Lindsey side. The king hastened to the spot with his knights, hunted out some of the ill-doers who had taken refuge in the almost inaccessible marshes, put them to the sword, and wiped out their hiding places. The Danes escaped back to the other shore, waiting for a suitable opportunity to avenge themselves and their comrades."
Orderic Vitalis
Apparently encouraged by events in the North, there was a spate of rebellions in other parts of the country. Orderic says that the men of Dorset and Somerset ("with their neighbours") attacked Montacute Castle. They failed to capture the castle when Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, with a force, drawn from Winchester, London and Salisbury, "marched against them, killed some, captured and mutilated others, and put the rest to flight". An alliance of "the Welshmen" (this would have been Bleddyn's forces), the men of Chester and "the native citizens, the powerful and warlike Edric [Eadric] the Wild, and other untameable Englishmen" besieged Shrewsbury Castle. Meanwhile, the men of Devon and Cornwall attacked Exeter. Mindful of their previous experience, however, the citizens of Exeter sided with the king, and the English assailants besieged the city. To deal with these two sieges, the king sent reinforcements, commanded by William fitz Osbern and Brian of Brittany. Before they could get to Shrewsbury the attackers had burned the town and dispersed. In Exeter, though, a sudden sally by the garrison drove off the besieging Englishmen - into the path of William and Brian, who "punished their audacity with great slaughter". The king himself, having left his half-brother, Count Robert of Mortain, and Count Robert of Eu in Lindsey, had "no difficulty in crushing large forces of rebels at Stafford". The two Roberts, meanwhile, surprised and drove-off some Danes who, thinking the coast was clear, had joined in the local rustics' feasts. At Nottingham, King William, presumably on his return journey to Lindsey, heard that the Danes had returned to York. The king hurried north, but was brought to a halt at Pontefract, where he could find no safe river crossing. There was a delay of three weeks before the crossing was accomplished. The Normans then made a difficult cross-country trek to York - only to find that the Danes had gone to their ships. William took furious revenge:
"... despoiling and laying waste the shire withal; whilst the fleet lay all the winter in the Humber, where the king could not come at them. The king was in York on Christmas Day, and so all the winter on land ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
The "despoiling and laying waste", carried out by King William that winter, is known as the 'Harrying of the North'.
"Nowhere else had William shown such cruelty. Shamefully he succumbed to this vice, for he made no effort to restrain his fury and punished the innocent with the guilty. In his anger he commanded that all crops and herds, chattels and food of every kind should be brought together and burned to ashes with consuming fire, so that the whole region north of the Humber might be stripped of all means of sustenance. In consequence so serious a scarcity was felt in England, and so terrible a famine fell upon the humble and defenceless populace, that more than 100,000 Christian folk of both sexes, young and old alike, perished of hunger. My narrative has frequently had occasion to praise William, but for this act which condemned the innocent and the guilty alike to die by slow starvation I cannot commend him."
Orderic Vitalis
Symeon of Durham ('Historia Regum'): "... so great a famine prevailed that men, compelled by hunger, devoured human flesh, that of horses, dogs, and cats, and whatever custom abhors; others sold themselves to perpetual slavery, so that they might in any way preserve their wretched existence; others, while about to go into exile from their country, fell down in the middle of their journey and gave up the ghost. It was horrific to behold human corpses decaying in the houses, the streets, and the roads, swarming with worms, while they were consuming in corruption with an abominable stench. For no one was left to bury them in the earth, all being cut off either by the sword or by famine. Meanwhile, the land being thus deprived of any one to cultivate it for nine years, an extensive solitude prevailed all around. There was no village inhabited between York and Durham; they became lurking places to wild beasts and robbers, and were a great dread to travellers."
William of Malmesbury: "... the resources of a province, once flourishing, and the nurse of tyrants, were cut off by fire, slaughter and devastation; the ground, for more than sixty miles, totally uncultivated and unproductive, remains bare even to the present day. Should any stranger now see it, he laments over the once magnificent cities! the towers threatening heaven itself with their loftiness; the fields abundant in pasturage and watered with rivers: and if any ancient remains, he knows it no longer."
"Meanwhile he [King William] sent messages to the Danish earl, Asbiörn [Osbeorn], and engaged to present him secretly with a large sum of money, and to grant permission to his army to forage freely along the sea-coast, on condition that he would depart, without giving battle, at the end of the winter. The Dane, too greedy for money, to his great dishonour, agreed to the terms proposed to him."
Florence of Worcester
"... the king's army, which had spread over all the places between the Tees and the Tyne, found only one continued solitude; the dwellings being everywhere deserted, and the inhabitants seeking safety in flight, or lying hid in the woods or the fastness of the mountains."
Symeon of Durham 'Historia Regum'
Orderic Vitalis says the king discovered that "another enemy band" was hiding-out at a place which is generally identified with Tod Point (on the south side of the Tees, near Coatham). William set out to capture them, however, when they heard he was on his way, they "fled away by night":
"He [the king] spent fifteen days encamped on the bank of the Tees. There Waltheof ....
William of Malmesbury: "... Waltheof, singly, had killed many of the Normans in the battle of York; cutting off their heads, one by one, as they entered the gate."
.... and Gospatric submitted to him and took oaths of fealty, Waltheof in person and Gospatric by proxies."
Orderic Vitalis
Orderic says "In January [1070] King William left the Tees and returned to Hexham, following a route no army had hitherto attempted". He then describes the hazardous winter journey across "towering peaks" and "precipitous valleys". Orderic had not mentioned Hexham before this, and it is certainly not on the way from the Tees to York - where William started from and was returning to. There are suggestions that Orderic (that is William of Poitiers, from whom Orderic was undoubtedly getting the information) was mistaken. One possibility is that Tweed should be read for Tees, another is that Helmsley should be read for Hexham. It is, however, possible that William simply took an indirect route (Symeon, after all says his army reached the Tyne).
Having repaired his castles and restored order in York, William set out across the Pennines, in "rain and hail", to deal with "the Welsh and the men of Chester". For some of his troops, having already campaigned through bad weather in difficult terrain, this new mission proved the final straw:
"The men of Anjou, Brittany, and Maine loudly complained that they were grievously burdened with intolerable duties, and repeatedly asked the king to discharge them from his service... He continued on the venture he had so boldly undertaken, commanded his faithful troops to follow him, and counted any who chose to desert him as idle cowards and weaklings... he pushed on with determination along a road no horseman had attempted before ... The king himself, remarkably sure-footed, led the foot-soldiers, readily helping them with his own hands when they were in difficulties. So at last he brought his army safely to Chester and suppressed all risings throughout Mercia with royal power. He built a castle at Chester and another at Stafford ... Then going on to Salisbury he distributed lavish rewards to the soldiers for all they had endured, praised those who had shown prowess, and discharged them with warm thanks. But in his anger he kept back those who had wished to desert him for forty days after the departure of their comrades, and in this way punished a crime that had deserved far more."
Orderic Vitalis
"By the advice of William [fitz Osbern], earl of Hereford, and some others, during the time of Lent [1070], king William commanded the monasteries of the whole of England to be searched, and the money which the richer English, because of his ravaging and violence, had deposited in them, to be seized and carried to his treasury."
Florence of Worcester
Malcolm & Margaret    
Translations:
Robert Wace 'Roman de Rou' by Edgar Taylor
'Brut y Tywysogion' by Rev. John Williams ab Ithel
Orderic Vitalis 'Historia Ecclesiastica' by Marjorie Chibnall
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' by Rev. James Ingram/Dr. J.A. Giles
Geffrei Gaimar 'L'Estoire des Engleis' by Rev. Joseph Stevenson
Symeon of Durham 'Historia Regum' & 'Historia Ecclesiae Dunelmensis' by J. Stevenson
Walter Map 'De Nugis Curialium' by Frederick Tupper Ph.D and Marbury Bladen Ogle Ph.D
William of Malmesbury 'Gesta Regum Anglorum' by Rev. J. Sharpe, revised by Rev. J. Stevenson
Florence of Worcester 'Chronicon ex Chronicis' edited and in part translated by Joseph Stevenson
William of Poitiers 'Gesta Guillelmi ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum' by Raymonde Foreville/R. Allen Brown