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The Daring Escape of Richard the Fearless : The ten-year-old got away from a royal castle disguised as a bundle of hay.
The Daring Escape of Richard the Fearless

Based on ‘Cameos from English History’ by Charlotte Yonge.

William Longsword was the son of Rollo, a Viking who had made his home in northern France, much to the disgust of the French kings. William was murdered on December 17, 942, leaving a son named Richard.

AFTER the murder of William Longsword, the powerful Duke of Normandy, King Louis IV of France surprised everyone by turning up at the funeral, and taking the duke’s young son Richard, aged about ten, into his own care, which was little more than an imprisonment.

Richard’s only companion in the King’s castle was his esquire, Osmond de Centeville.

At length, Osmond made contact with the Normans and encouraged them to pray as hard as they could, because he had devised a plan of escape.

Richard suddenly feigned illness, and in all the bustle Osmond managed to smuggle a bundle of hay into the boy’s room.

He wrapped Richard in the hay, and casually set off for the stables, as if he had just remembered to feed his horse.

But with darkness falling, Osmond quickly propped the bundle on the horse’s back, leapt into the saddle, and rode with his precious burden all the way back to Normandy.

* Richard later married Gunnor(a), and their daughter Emma married the English king Ethelred the Unready. After his death, she married King Canute, and their son Edward became King Edward the Confessor in 1042.

Based on ‘Cameos from English History’ by Charlotte Yonge.

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A statue of Richard the Fearless in the town square of Falaise in Normandy, France, one of six Dukes of Normandy honoured in this way. © Imars, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.5.
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