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and, when that heroic monarch, in his famous crusade to the Holy Land, Robert,
drew after him great numbers of the English nobility and gentry, the fitzparnell.
Earl of Leicester, emulous to partake of what in those days was esteemed
an enterprise of the greatest glory and honour, led a numerous band of
vassals to the standard of his sovereign, and, on the plain of Vezelai in
Champagne, the rendezvous of the united armies of England and France,
the men of Leicester were conspicuous for their gallant and martial ap-
At Messina, in Sicily, the Earl first heard of his father's death ; and
shortly after, on the eve of the Purification of our Lady, in an assembly
of the nobles and leaders of the army, King Richard invested him in the
Earldom of Leicester by the cincture of a sword.
In the campaigns in Cyprus and in Palestine, with the brave and heroic
Richard, the Earl of Leicester, from his intrepid and distinguished con-
duct, acquired lasting fame and honour ; and when that Prince, from the
state of the English affairs, found it necessary to return homewards, he
prepared to accompany him, but various circumstances led him to take
another route. Richard, in passing through the territories of Leopold,
Duke of Austria, was arrested by that potentate in revenge for some in-
sult he conceived he had received in the Holy Land, and committed to
close prison. Richard's misfortune was basely taken advantage of by his
brother John and the King of France, the latter of whom commenced hos-
tilities by suddenly bursting into Normandy with a strong force. After
investing and taking several fortresses and towns, he at length laid siege
to Rouen, threatening to put the inhabitants to the sword if they offered
the least resistance.
At this critical period, the Earl of Leicester, thus far on his return from
the Holy Land, fortunately appeared. Assuming the command, by his
exhortations and example he infused fresh courage into the breasts of the
almost desponding Normans, and incited them to make a noble defence.
Animated by his exertions, the city was defended with spirit and valour ;
and the French King, repulsed in every attack, harassed by frequent and
unexpected sallies, and finding all his efforts unavailing, precipitately
raised the siege, and retreated to his own dominions. After performing
this most signal service to Richard, the Earl continued his journey home-
He had a grant from King John of the whole lands of Richmondshire,

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