This is the one which was begun by Hester, who liked to be serious and mysterious in her work, and was almost vexed when others turned it to nonsense. She called it "The Secret of the Castle," and began it like this: "It was a dark and gloomy night in the year 1135, when the young Lord Almeric reached his impressive and ancestral home.
In 1135 his grandfather died, and left him, before he was yet three years old, the succession to the English throne. But Geoffrey and Matilda were at the moment hard pressed by one of their ceaseless wars. The Church was openly opposed to the rule of the House of Anjou; the Norman baronage on either side of the water inherited a long tradition of hatred to the Angevin.
He returned to France, after a lengthened absence, in 1135, meeting on his way with a royal reception. He was once more absorbed in the duties of his office, as Abbot of Clairvaux, when again summoned to Italy by Innocent II., to oppose the power of Roger, the Norman King of Sicily, whose aid Anaclete had obtained.
Henry, determined to add Normandy to the English crown, crossed the channel with a large army and defeated his brother at Tinchebrai in 1106. With the accession of Stephen to the English throne in 1135, came the long struggle between that king and Maud.
At the same time the story crops up in other quarters; so that we cannot look upon Otto as the inventor of the myth. The celebrated Maimonides alludes to it in a passage quoted by Joshua Lorki, a Jewish physician to Benedict XIII. Maimonides lived from 1135 to 1204. With him they have made a compact, and he with them; and this is a matter concerning which there can be no manner of doubt."
But it is held that during that suspension of the royal functions there was usually a proclamation of "the king's peace," under which all violations of law were punished as if the head of the law were in the full exercise of his functions and dignities. King Henry I died on the 1st of December, 1135. Stephen was crowned on the 26th of December.
The Magdalen, or Leper, Hospital, just without the South Gate, was founded sometime before 1135, for in 1136 we find that Bishop Bartholomew permitted a continuance of the ancient right by which the lepers were allowed to collect food twice a week in the market, and alms on two other days, to all of which the healthy members of the community naturally objected.
A very brief summary of the events of the final years of his life will serve to round out the story. The "Historia Calamitatum" was written while Abélard was still abbot of the monastery of St. Gildas, in Brittany. The terrors of his existence there are fully dwelt on in his autobiographical letter, and finally, in 1134 or 1135, he fled, living for a short time in retirement.
After the death of Henry I in 1135 a miserable period of confusion and violence ensued. Civil war broke out between two claimants for the crown, Stephen the grandson, and Matilda the granddaughter, of William the Conqueror.
He made her marry Geoffrey of Anjou, the brother of his son's wife, and called upon all his chief noblemen to swear that they would take her for their queen in England and their duchess in Normandy after his own death. He did not live much longer. His death was caused, in the year 1135, by eating too much of the fish called lamprey, and he was buried in Reading Abbey.