Norman Conquest Encyclopedia
When Duke Robert the Magnificent died in July 1035 he left as his heir to the duchy of Normandy a seven-year-old boy, William the Bastard. Even though Robert's vassals had sworn to support the new duke, that the child survived to become a man at all was a mild miracle. It was largely due to the influence of Henry I of France who exercised power over Normandy during William's minority, knighted him and held him under his special protection. When, in the late autumn of 1046, the intermittent troubles that had gone on for nine years grew into a real threat to the young duke, it was Henry who intervened. The man who planned to seize the duchy was Guy of Burgundy who had come into possession of the town of Vernon on the River Seine and that of Brionne on the Risle. He was joined by the lords of the Cotentin, the Bessin and a number of others. William escaped from Valognes in the Cotentin peninsula and made a night crossing of the Vire estuary and made it to safety in Falaise. He appealed to Henry for the help due to a faithful vassal and it was forthcoming. Early in 1047 the king's army approached Caen from the south-east, by way of Mézidon-Canon and moved west by Valmeray into the area now bounded by the D41 and the D80, the ridge south of Bourguébus which was the objective of Operation Goodwood in July 1944. Their enemies had crossed the River Orne the previous day and a confused fight of detached bodies of cavalry ensued in which William displayed considerable courage and in which the rebels were defeated. Wace reports that the fleeing horsemen were driven into the river Orne and drowned, and that the mills of Borbillon were choked with corpses.
- Hastings 1066 (Revised Edition)- The Fall of Saxon England
(Campaign 13 )