Incident at the funeral of William the Conqueror, 1087, Ascelin Fitz-Arthur forbidding the burial

- Image ID: KM4W6G
Incident at the funeral of William the Conqueror, 1087, Ascelin Fitz-Arthur forbidding the burial
Historical Images Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: KM4W6G
Illustration by Edouard Zier (1856-1924) from a special edition history of England published in 1903. Info from wiki: "Disorder followed William's death; everyone who had been at his deathbed left the body at Rouen and hurried off to attend to their own affairs. Eventually, the clergy of Rouen arranged to have the body sent to Caen, where William had desired to be buried in his foundation of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes. The funeral, attended by the bishops and abbots of Normandy as well as his son Henry, was disturbed by the assertion of a citizen of Caen who alleged that his family had been illegally despoiled of the land on which the church was built. After hurried consultations the allegation was shown to be true, and the man was compensated. A further indignity occurred when the corpse was lowered into the tomb. The corpse was too large for the space, and when attendants forced the body into the tomb it burst, spreading a disgusting odour throughout the church." According to the text the man's name was Ascelin Fitz-Arthur who interrupted the funeral with these words ‘He whom you have praised was a robber. The very land on which you stand is mine. By violence he took it from my father; and in the name of God, I forbid you to bury him in it.’ After some debate, the prelates called him to them, paid him sixty shillings for the grave, and promised that he should receive the full value of his land. The ceremony was then continued, and the body of the king deposited in a coffin of stone