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interest and fortunes of the undoubted heir of the ancient English kings, the earls of
. • i -i i f t^ i a i i- LEICESTER.
the imbecile and unfortunate Edgar Atheling.
Accordingly, we find that the Earl of Mellent became proprietor of the
following manors and lordships, viz. sixty-four in Warwickshire, sixteen in
Leicestershire, seven in Wilts, three in Northampton, and one in Glou-
cestershire ; but his most valuable possessions were in the neighbourhood
of Leicester, which city ever continued zealously attached to the interests
of his family.
He built the Castle of Leicester, a stately and magnificent pile, which
he made his principal residence, and where (excepting occasionally visit-
ing his Norman estates,) he lived during the reigns of the Conqueror and
his son William Rufus, in a style of great hospitality and splendour. But,
on the accession of Henry the First, surnamed Beauclerc, that prince, to
whom he had ever shown himself a faithful and attached friend, called him
to his councils, loaded him with honours and dignities, and he soon be-
came his chief confidant and favourite minister.
The Earl seems to have acted a chief part in the most important trans- noi.
actions of this reign, and he appears to have had his full share of the
obloquy which some of Henry's measures, from their unpopularity, re-
ceived. In his disputes with the clergy, and particularly with Anselm,
Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl incurred undeserved reproach : And
when the King had given orders to seize the revenues of the see of Can-
terbury, and had denounced the Archbishop not to reenter the kingdom,
(he being then in France,) that priest prevailed upon Pope Pascal the
Second to issue a sentence of excommunication against the Earl of Mel-
lent. A similar sentence awaited the King, the execution of which was
only prevented by the interposition of his sister, the devout Adela, Coun-
tess of Blois.
Henry, in consideration of his many great and eminent services, created 1 10.3.
him Earl of Leicester ; and, as he had given the Earldom of Mellent, and
all his Norman possessions, to his eldest son Walleran, the King was
pleased to confirm that young nobleman in the earldom.
Robert, Earl of Leicester, retired to Normandy, and became a monk in
the Abbey of Preaux, where he lived to an advanced age, and died in 1116.
According to Henry of Huntingdon, he was the wisest man betwixt
England and Jerusalem, and, by his vast wealth and possessions, so power-

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