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But I have found the pursuit of truth a path bristling with thorns, and beset with pitfalls.One of the chief difficulties to be met is the confusion caused by contradictory statements that no ingenuity can reconcile; and in too many cases conjecture alone is possible. --------*-------- No one can be more sensible than I am myself that the task of investigating the Battle Abbey Roll should have been committed to more competent hands than mine.I think I can, with all due humility, say the same of myself. Planche, in his 'Conqueror and his Companions,' aims only at being impartial and truthful. This does not apply to Dugdale, who evolves no fictions from his inner consciousness, but is invariably and scrupulously honest; and I may add that Mr.Although I may conscientiously assert that I have taken all imaginable pains to be accurate, I am aware that I must have made plenty of mistakes. From the great number of names of which I have endeavoured to give an account, each account is necessarily brief and more or less imperfect, as in so limited a space it would be utterly hopeless to trace out every collateral branch in detail.
What would De Vere be without its meteor star, or De Albini without its conquered lion?I have also given all the anecdotes that I could collect, partly to relieve the inherent dullness of a mere catalogue of descents, and partly because many of them incidentally furnish vivid pictures of manners and customs long since passed away. --------*-------- The famous Roll of Battle Abbey is believed to have been compiled in obedience to a clause in the Conqueror's foundation charter, that enjoined the monks to pray for the souls of those "who by their labour and valour had helped to win the kingdom." The great Sussex Abbey that was "the token and pledge of the Royal Crown," had been intended to be not only a memorial of his victory, but a chantry for the slain; and the names of his companions-in-arms, enshrined on this bede-roll, might thus be read out in the church on special occasions, and notably on the anniversary feast of St. It was most likely originally copied from the muster-roll of the Norman knights, that had been prepared by the Duke's orders before his embarkation, and was called over in his presence on the field of battle, the morning after it had been fought.