THE ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE
Part 1: AD 1 - 999 AD
The island Britain (1) is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations; English, Welsh (or British) (2), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia (3), and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell there together; "But," said the Scots, "we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may gain it." Then went the Picts and entered this land northward. Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on condition that they chose their kings always on the female side (4); which they have continued to do, so long since. And it happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their leader was called Reoda (5), from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).
Sixty winters ere that Christ was born, Caius Julius, emperor of the Romans, with eighty ships sought Britain. There he was first beaten in a dreadful fight, and lost a great part of his army. Then he let his army abide with the Scots (6), and went south into Gaul. There he gathered six hundred ships, with which he went back into Britain. When they first rushed together, Caesar's tribune, whose name was Labienus (7), was slain. Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great clubs into the water, at a certain ford of the river called Thames. When the Romans found that, they would not go over the ford. Then fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the woods; and Caesar, having after much fighting gained many of the chief towns, went back into Gaul (8).
((B.C. 60. Before the incarnation of Christ sixty years, Gaius
Julius the emperor, first of the Romans, sought the land of
Britain; and he crushed the Britons in battle, and overcame them;
and nevertheless he was unable to gain any empire there.))
A.D. 1. Octavianus reigned fifty-six winters; and in the forty-second year of his reign Christ was born. Then three astrologers from the east came to worship Christ; and the children in Bethlehem were slain by Herod in persecution of Christ.
A.D. 3. This year died Herod, stabbed by his own hand; and Archelaus his son succeeded him. The child Christ was also this year brought back again from Egypt.
A.D. 6. From the beginning of the world to this year were agone five thousand and two hundred winters.
A.D. 11. This year Herod the son of Antipater undertook the government in Judea.
A.D. 12. This year Philip and Herod divided Judea into four kingdoms.
((A.D. 12. This year Judea was divided into four tetrarchies.))
A.D. 16. This year Tiberius succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 26. This year Pilate began to reign over the Jews.
A.D. 30. This year was Christ baptized; and Peter and Andrew were converted, together with James, and John, and Philip, and all the twelve apostles.
A.D. 33. This year was Christ crucified; (9) about five thousand two hundred and twenty six winters from the beginning of the world. (10)
A.D. 34. This year was St. Paul converted, and St. Stephen stoned.
A.D. 35. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal see in the city of Antioch.
A.D. 37. This year (11) Pilate slew himself with his own hand.
A.D. 39. This year Caius undertook the empire.
A.D. 44. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal see at Rome; and James, the brother of John, was slain by Herod.
A.D. 45. This year died Herod, who slew James one year ere his own death.
A.D. 46. This year Claudius, the second of the Roman emperors who invaded Britain, took the greater part of the island into his power, and added the Orkneys to rite dominion of the Romans. This was in the fourth year of his reign. And in the same year (12) happened the great famine in Syria which Luke mentions in the book called "The Acts of the Apostles". After Claudius Nero succeeded to the empire, who almost lost the island Britain through his incapacity.
((A.D. 46. This year the Emperor Claudius came to Britain, and subdued a large part of the island; and he also added the island of Orkney to the dominion of the Romans.))
A.D. 47. This year Mark, the evangelist in Egypt beginneth to write the gospel.
((A.D. 47. This was in the fourth year of his reign, and in this same year was the great famine in Syria which Luke speaks of in the book called "Actus Apostolorum".))
((A.D. 47. This year Claudius, king of the Romans, went with an army into Britain, and subdued the island, and subjected all the Picts and Welsh to the rule of the Romans.))
A.D. 50. This year Paul was sent bound to Rome.
A.D. 62. This year James, the brother of Christ, suffered.
A.D. 63. This year Mark the evangelist departed this life.
A.D. 69. This year Peter and Paul suffered.
A.D. 70. This year Vespasian undertook the empire.
A.D. 71. This year Titus, son of Vespasian, slew in Jerusalem eleven hundred thousand Jews.
A.D. 81. This year Titus came to the empire, after Vespasian, who said that he considered the day lost in which he did no good.
A.D. 83. This year Domitian, the brother of Titus, assumed the government.
A.D. 84. This year John the evangelist in the island Patmos wrote the book called "The Apocalypse".
A.D. 90. This year Simon, the apostle, a relation of Christ, was crucified: and John the evangelist rested at Ephesus.
A.D. 92. This year died Pope Clement.
A.D. 110. This year Bishop Ignatius suffered.
A.D. 116. This year Hadrian the Caesar began to reign.
A.D. 145. This year Marcus Antoninus and Aurelius his brother succeeded to the empire.
((A.D. 167. This year Eleutherius succeeded to the popedom, and held it fifteen years; and in the same year Lucius, king of the Britons, sent and begged baptism of him. And he soon sent it him, and they continued in the true faith until the time of Diocletian.))
A.D. 189. This year Severus came to the empire; and went with his army into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons. He reigned seventeen years; and then ended his days at York. His son Bassianus succeeded him in the empire. His other son, who perished, was called Geta. This year Eleutherius undertook the bishopric of Rome, and held it honourably for fifteen winters. To him Lucius, king of the Britons, sent letters, and prayed that he might be made a Christian. He obtained his request; and they continued afterwards in the right belief until the reign of Diocletian.
A.D. 199. In this year was found the holy rood. (13)
A.D. 283. This year suffered Saint Alban the Martyr.
A.D. 343. This year died St. Nicolaus.
A.D. 379. This year Gratian succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 381. This year Maximus the Caesar came to the empire. He was born in the land of Britain, whence he passed over into Gaul. He there slew the Emperor Gratian; and drove his brother, whose name was Valentinian, from his country (Italy). The same Valentinian afterwards collected an army, and slew Maximus; whereby he gained the empire. About this time arose the error of Pelagius over the world.
A.D. 418. This year the Romans collected all the hoards of gold (14) that were in Britain; and some they hid in the earth, so that no man afterwards might find them, and some they carried away with them into Gaul.
A.D. 423. This year Theodosius the younger succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 429. This year Bishop Palladius was sent from Pope
Celesrinus to the Scots, that he might establish their faith.
A.D. 430. This year Patricius was sent from Pope Celestinus to preach baptism to the Scots.
((A.D. 430. This year Patrick was sent by Pope Celestine to preach baptism to the Scots.))
A.D. 435. This year the Goths sacked the city of Rome; and never since have the Romans reigned in Britain. This was about eleven hundred and ten winters after it was built. They reigned altogether in Britain four hundred and seventy winters since Gaius Julius first sought that land.
A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome, and begged assistance against the Picts; but they had none, for the Romans were at war with Atila, king of the Huns. Then sent they to the Angles, and requested the same from the nobles of that nation.
A.D. 444. This year died St. Martin.
A.D. 448. This year John the Baptist showed his head to two monks, who came from the eastern country to Jerusalem for the sake of prayer, in the place that whilom was the palace of Herod. (15)
A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them. The king directed them to fight against the Picts; and they did so; and obtained the victory wheresoever they came. They then sent to the Angles, and desired them to send more assistance. They described the worthlessness of the Britons, and the richness of the land. They then sent them greater support. Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the men of Kent, the Wightwarians (that is, the tribe that now dwelleth in the Isle of Wight), and that kindred in Wessex that men yet call the kindred of the Jutes. From the Old Saxons came the people of Essex and Sussex and Wessex. From Anglia, which has ever since remained waste between the Jutes and the Saxons, came the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians, and all of those north of the Humber. Their leaders were two brothers, Hengest and Horsa; who were the sons of Wihtgils; Wihtgils was the son of Witta, Witta of Wecta, Wecta of Woden. From this Woden arose all our royal kindred, and that of the Southumbrians also.
((A.D. 449. And in their days Vortigern invited the Angles thither, and they came to Britain in three ceols, at the place called Wippidsfleet.))
A.D. 455. This year Hengest and Horsa fought with Wurtgern the king on the spot that is called Aylesford. His brother Horsa being there slain, Hengest afterwards took to the kingdom with his son Esc.
A.D. 457. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Crayford, and there slew four thousand men. The Britons then forsook the land of Kent, and in great consternation fled to London.
A.D. 465. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, nigh Wippedfleet; and there slew twelve leaders, all Welsh. On their side a thane was there slain, whose name was Wipped.
A.D. 473. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, and took immense Booty. And the Welsh fled from the English like fire.
A.D. 477. This year came Ella to Britain, with his three sons,
Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a
place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the
Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called
A.D. 482. This year the blessed Abbot Benedict shone in this world, by the splendour of those virtues which the blessed Gregory records in the book of Dialogues.
A.D. 485. This year Ella fought with the Welsh nigh Mecred's-Burnsted.
A.D. 488. This year Esc succeeded to the kingdom; and was king of the men of Kent twenty-four winters.
A.D. 490. This year Ella and Cissa besieged the city of Andred, and slew all that were therein; nor was one Briten left there afterwards.
A.D. 495. This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day. Then he died, and his son Cynric succeeded to the government, and held it six and twenty winters. Then he died; and Ceawlin, his son, succeeded, who reigned seventeen years. Then he died; and Ceol succeeded to the government, and reigned five years. When he died, Ceolwulf, his brother, succeeded, and reigned seventeen years. Their kin goeth to Cerdic. Then succeeded Cynebils, Ceolwulf's brother's son, to the kingdom; and reigned one and thirty winters. And he first of West-Saxon kings received baptism. Then succeeded Cenwall, who was the son of Cynegils, and reigned one and thirty winters. Then held Sexburga, his queen, the government one year after him. Then succeeded Escwine to the kingdom, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and held it two years. Then succeeded Centwine, the son of Cynegils, to the kingdom of the West-Saxons, and reigned nine years. Then succeeded Ceadwall to the government, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and held it three years. Then succeeded Ina to the kingdom of the West-Saxons, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned thirty-seven winters. Then succeeded Ethelheard, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned sixteen years. Then succeeded Cuthred, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned sixteen winters. Then succeeded Sigebriht, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned one year. Then succeeded Cynwulf, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned one and thirty winters. Then succeeded Brihtric, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned sixteen years. Then succeeded Egbert to the kingdom, and held it seven and thirty winters, and seven months. Then succeeded Ethelwulf, his son, and reigned eighteen years and a half. Ethelwulf was the son of Egbert, Egbert of Ealmund, Ealmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa, Eoppa of Ingild, Ingild of Cenred (Ina of Cenred, Cuthburga of Cenred, and Cwenburga of Cenred), Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cuthwulf, Cuthwulf of Cuthwine, Cuthwine of Celm, Celm of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda, Creoda of Cerdic. Then succeeded Ethelbald, the son of Ethelwulf, to the kingdom, and held it five years. Then succeeded Ethelbert, his brother, and reigned five years. Then succeeded Ethelred, his brother, to the kingdom, and held it five years. Then succeeded Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained the land of Wessex from the Welsh. And he held the kingdom a year and a half less than thirty winters. Then succeeded Edward, the son of Alfred, and reigned twenty-four winters. When he died, then succeeded Athelstan, his son, and reigned fourteen years and seven weeks and three days. Then succeeded Edmund, his brother, and reigned six years and a half, wanting two nights. Then succeeded Edred, his brother, and reigned nine years and six weeks. Then succeeded Edwy, the son of Edmund, and reigned three years and thirty-six weeks, wanting two days. When he died, then succeeded Edgar, his brother, and reigned sixteen years and eight weeks and two nights. When he died, then succeeded Edward, the son of Edgar, and reigned—
A.D. 501. This year Porta and his two sons, Beda and Mela, came into Britain, with two ships, at a place called Portsmouth. They soon landed, and slew on the spot a young Briton of very high rank.
A.D. 508. This year Cerdic and Cynric slew a British king, whose name was Natanleod, and five thousand men with him. After this was the land named Netley, from him, as far as Charford.
A.D. 509. This year St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all the monks, (16) ascended to heaven.
A.D. 514. This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And Stuff and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight.
A.D. 519. This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the children of the West-Saxon kings.
A.D. 527. This year Cerdic and Cynric fought with the Britons in the place that is called Cerdic's-ley.
A.D. 530. This year Cerdic and Cynric took the isle of Wight, and slew many men in Carisbrook.
A.D. 534. This year died Cerdic, the first king of the West-Saxons. Cynric his son succeeded to the government, and reigned afterwards twenty-six winters. And they gave to their two nephews, Stuff and Wihtgar, the whole of the Isle of Wight.
A.D. 538. This year the sun was eclipsed, fourteen days before the calends of March, from before morning until nine.
A.D. 540. This year the sun was eclipsed on the twelfth day before the calends of July; and the stars showed themselves full nigh half an hour over nine.
A.D. 544. This year died Wihtgar; and men buried him at
A.D. 547. This year Ida began his reign; from whom first arose the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa, Esa of Ingwy, Ingwy of Angenwit, Angenwit of Alloc, Alloc of Bennoc, Bennoc of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden. Woden of Fritholaf, Fritholaf of Frithowulf, Frithowulf of Finn, Finn of Godolph, Godolph of Geata. Ida reigned twelve years. He built Bamburgh-Castle, which was first surrounded with a hedge, and afterwards with a wall.
A.D. 552. This year Cynric fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Sarum, and put them to flight. Cerdic was the father of Cynric, Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar, Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden. In this year Ethelbert, the son of Ermenric, was born, who on the two and thirtieth year of his reign received the rite of baptism, the first of all the kings in Britain.
A.D. 556. This year Cynric and Ceawlin fought with the Britons at Beranbury.
A.D. 560. This year Ceawlin undertook the government of the West-Saxons; and Ella, on the death of Ida, that of the Northumbrians; each of whom reigned thirty winters. Ella was the son of Iff, Iff of Usfrey, Usfrey of Wilgis, Wilgis of Westerfalcon, Westerfalcon of Seafowl, Seafowl of Sebbald, Sebbald of Sigeat, Sigeat of Swaddy, Swaddy of Seagirt, Seagar of Waddy, Waddy of Woden, Woden of Frithowulf. This year Ethelbert came to the kingdom of the Cantuarians, and held it fifty-three winters. In his days the holy Pope Gregory sent us baptism. That was in the two and thirtieth year of his reign. And Columba, the mass-priest, came to the Picts, and converted them to the belief of Christ. They are the dwellers by the northern moors. And their king gave him the island of Hii, consisting of five hides, as they say, where Columba built a monastary. There he was abbot two and thirty winters; and there he died, when he was seventy-seven years old. The place his successors yet have. The Southern Picts were long before baptized by Bishop Ninnia, who was taught at Rome. His church or monastery is at Hwiterne, hallowed in the name of St. Martin, where he resteth with many holy men. Now, therefore, shall there be ever in Hii an abbot, and no bishop; and to him shall be subject all the bishops of the Scots; because Columba was an abbot—no bishop.
((A.D. 565. This year Columba the presbyter came from the Scots among the Britons, to instruct the Picts, and he built a monastery in the island of Hii.))
A.D. 568. This year Ceawlin, and Cutha the brother of Ceawlin, fought with Ethelbert, and pursued him into Kent. And they slew two aldermen at Wimbledon, Oslake and Cnebba.
A.D. 571. This year Cuthulf fought with the Britons at Bedford, and took four towns, Lenbury, Aylesbury, Benson, and Ensham. And this same year he died.
A.D. 577. This year Cuthwin and Ceawlin fought with the Britons, and slew three kings, Commail, and Condida, and Farinmail, on the spot that is called Derham, and took from them three cities, Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath.
A.D. 583. This year Mauricius succeeded to the empire of the
A.D. 584. This year Ceawlin and Cutha fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Fretherne. There Cutha was slain. And Ceawlin took many towns, as well as immense booty and wealth. He then retreated to his own people.
A.D. 588. This year died King Ella; and Ethelric reigned after him five years.
A.D. 591. This year there was a great slaughter of Britons at Wanborough; Ceawlin was driven from his kingdom, and Ceolric reigned six years.
A.D. 592. This year Gregory succeeded to the papacy at Rome.
A.D. 593. This year died Ceawlin, and Cwichelm, and Cryda; and Ethelfrith succeeded to the kingdom of the Northumbrians. He was the son of Ethelric; Ethelric of Ida.
A.D. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain with very many monks, to preach the word of God to the English people.
A.D. 597. This year began Ceolwulf to reign over the West-Saxons; and he constantly fought and conquered, either with the Angles, or the Welsh, or the Picts, or the Scots. He was the son of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic, Cerdic of Elesa, Elesa of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar, Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, and Balday of Woden. This year came Augustine and his companions to England. (17)
A.D. 601. This year Pope Gregory sent the pall to Archbishop
Augustine in Britain, with very many learned doctors to assist
him; and Bishop Paulinus converted Edwin, king of the
Northumbrians, to baptism.
A.D. 603. This year Aeden, king of the Scots, fought with the Dalreathians, and with Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, at Theakstone; where he lost almost all his army. Theobald also, brother of Ethelfrith, with his whole armament, was slain. None of the Scottish kings durst afterwards bring an army against this nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the army thither.
((A.D. 603. This year Aethan, King of the Scots, fought against the Dalreods and against Ethelfrith, king of the North-humbrians, at Daegsanstane [Dawston?], and they slew almost all his army. There Theodbald, Ethelfrith's brother, was slain with all his band. Since then no king of the Scots has dared to lead an army against this nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the enemy thither.))
A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. Mellitus he sent to preach baptism to the East-Saxons. Their king was called Seabert, the son of Ricola, Ethelbert's sister, whom Ethelbert placed there as king. Ethelbert also gave Mellitus the bishopric of London; and to Justus he gave the bishopric of Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury.
((A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops,
Mellitus and Justus. He sent Mellitus to preach baptism to the
East-Saxons, whose king was called Sebert, son of Ricole, the
sister of Ethelbert, and whom Ethelbert had there appointed king.
And Ethelbert gave Mellitus a bishop's see in London, and to
Justus he gave Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from
A.D. 606. This year died Gregory; about ten years since he sent us baptism. His father was called Gordianus, and his mother Silvia.
A.D. 607. This year Ceolwulf fought with the South-Saxons. And Ethelfrith led his army to Chester; where he slew an innumerable host of the Welsh; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustine, wherein he saith "If the Welsh will not have peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons." There were also slain two hundred priests, (18) who came thither to pray for the army of the Welsh. Their leader was called Brocmail, who with some fifty men escaped thence.
A.D. 611. This year Cynegils succeeded to the government in Wessex, and held it one and thirty winters. Cynegils was the son of Ceol, Ceol of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric.
A.D. 614. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at Bampton, and slew two thousand and forty-six of the Welsh.
A.D. 616. This year died Ethelbert, king of Kent, the first of English kings that received baptism: he was the son of Ermenric. He reigned fifty-six winters, and was succeeded by his son Eadbald. And in this same year had elapsed from the beginning of the world five thousand six hundred and eighteen winters. This Eadbald renounced his baptism, and lived in a heathen manner; so that he took to wife the relict of his father. Then Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent, meant to depart southward over sea, and abandon everything. But there came to him in the night the apostle Peter, and severely chastised him, (19) because he would so desert the flock of God. And he charged him to go to the king, and teach him the right belief. And he did so; and the king returned to the right belief. In this king's days the same Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent after Augustine, departed this life on the second of February, and was buried near Augustine. The holy Augustine in his lifetime invested him bishop, to the end that the church of Christ, which yet was new in England, should at no time after his decease be without an archbishop. After him Mellitus, who was first Bishop of London, succeeded to the archbishopric. The people of London, where Mellitus was before, were then heathens: and within five winters of this time, during the reign of Eadbald, Mellitus died. To him succeeded Justus, who was Bishop of Rochester, whereto he consecrated Romanus bishop.
((A.D. 616. In that time Laurentius was archbishop, and for the sorrowfulness which he had on account of the king's unbelief he was minded to forsake this country entirely, and go over sea; but St. Peter the apostle scourged him sorely one night, because he wished thus to forsake the flock of God, and commanded him to teach boldly the true faith to the king; and he did so, and the king turned to the right (faith). In the days of this same king, Eadbald, this Laurentius died. The holy Augustine, while yet in sound health, ordained him bishop, in order that the community of Christ, which was yet new in England, should not after his decease be at any time without an archbishop. After him Mellitus, who had been previously Bishop of London, succeeded to the archbishopric. And within five years of the decease of Laurentius, while Eadbald still reigned, Mellitus departed to Christ.))
A.D. 617. This year was Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, slain by Redwald, king of the East-Angles; and Edwin, the son of Ella, having succeeded to the kingdom, subdued all Britain, except the men of Kent alone, and drove out the Ethelings, the sons of Ethelfrith, namely, Enfrid. Oswald, Oswy, Oslac, Oswood. Oslaf, and Offa.
A.D. 624. This year died Archbishop Mellitus.
A.D. 625. This year Paulinus was invested bishop of the Northumbrians, by Archbishop Justus, on the twelfth day before the calends of August.
((A.D. 625. This year Archbishop Justus consecrated Paulinus bishop of the North-humbrians.))
A.D. 626. This year came Eamer from Cwichelm, king of the West-Saxons, with a design to assassinate King Edwin; but he killed Lilla his thane, and Forthere, and wounded the king. The same night a daughter was born to Edwin, whose name was Eanfleda. Then promised the king to Paulinus, that he would devote his daughter to God, if he would procure at the hand of God, that he might destroy his enemy, who had sent the assassin to him. He then advanced against the West-Saxons with an army, felled on the spot five kings, and slew many of their men. This year Eanfleda, the daughter of King Edwin, was baptized, on the holy eve of Pentecost. And the king within twelve months was baptized, at Easter, with all his people. Easter was then on the twelfth of April. This was done at York, where he had ordered a church to be built of timber, which was hallowed in the name of St. Peter. There the king gave the bishopric to Paulinus; and there he afterwards ordered a larger church to be built of stone. This year Penda began to reign; and reigned thirty winters. He had seen fifty winters when he began to reign. Penda was the son of Wybba, Wybba of Creoda, Creoda of Cynewald, Cynewald of Cnebba, Cnebba of Icel, Icel of Eomer, Eomer of Angelthew, Angelthew of Offa, Offa of Wearmund, Wearmund of Whitley, Whitley of Woden.
A.D. 627. This year was King Edwin baptized at Easter, with all his people, by Paulinus, who also preached baptism in Lindsey, where the first person who believed was a certain rich man, of the name of Bleek, with all his people. At this time Honorius succeeded Boniface in the papacy, and sent hither to Paulinus the pall; and Archbishop Justus having departed this life on the tenth of November, Honorius was consecrated at Lincoln Archbishop of Canterbury by Paulinus; and Pope Honorius sent him the pall. And he sent an injunction to the Scots, that they should return to the right celebration of Easter.
((A.D. 627. This year, at Easter, Paulinus baptized Edwin king of the North-humbrians, with his people; and earlier within the same year, at Pentecost, he had baptized Eanfled, daughter of the same king.))
A.D. 628. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought with Penda at
Cirencester, and afterwards entered into a treaty there.
A.D. 632. This year was Orpwald baptized.
A.D. 633. This year King Edwin was slain by Cadwalla and Penda, on Hatfield moor, on the fourteenth of October. He reigned seventeen years. His son Osfrid was also slain with him. After this Cadwalla and Penda went and ravaged all the land of the Northumbrians; which when Paulinus saw, he took Ethelburga, the relict of Edwin, and went by ship to Kent. Eadbald and Honorius received him very honourably, and gave him the bishopric of Rochester, where he continued to his death.
A.D. 634. This year Osric, whom Paulinus baptized, succeeded to the government of Deira. He was the son of Elfric, the uncle of Edwin. And to Bernicia succeeded Eanfrith, son of Ethelfrith. This year also Bishop Birinus first preached baptism to the West-Saxons, under King Cynegils. The said Birinus went thither by the command of Pope Honorius; and he was bishop there to the end of his life. Oswald also this year succeeded to the government of the Northumbrians, and reigned nine winters. The ninth year was assigned to him on account of the heathenism in which those lived who reigned that one year betwixt him and Edwin.
A.D. 635. This year King Cynegils was baptized by Bishop Birinus at Dorchester; and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was his sponsor.
A.D. 636. This year King Cwichelm was baptized at Dorchester, and died the same year. Bishop Felix also preached to the East-Angles the belief of Christ.
A.D. 639. This year Birinus baptized King Cuthred at Dorchester, and received him as his son.
A.D. 640. This year died Eadbald, King of Kent, after a reign of twenty-five winters. He had two sons, Ermenred and Erkenbert; and Erkenbert reigned there after his father. He overturned all the idols in the kingdom, and first of English kings appointed a fast before Easter. His daughter was called Ercongota—holy damsel of an illustrious sire! whose mother was Sexburga, the daughter of Anna, king of the East-Angles. Ermenred also begat two sons, who were afterwards martyred by Thunnor.
A.D. 642. This year Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by Penda, king of the Southumbrians, at Mirfield, on the fifth day of August; and his body was buried at Bardney. His holiness and miracles were afterwards displayed on manifold occasions throughout this island; and his hands remain still uncorrupted at Barnburgh. The same year in which Oswald was slain, Oswy his brother succeeded to the government of the Northumbrians, and reigned two less than thirty years.
A.D. 643. This year Kenwal succeeded to the kingdom of the
West-Saxons, and held it one and thirty winters. This Kenwal ordered
the old (20) church at Winchester to be built in the name of St.
Peter. He was the son of Cynegils.
A.D. 644. This year died at Rochester, on the tenth of October, Paulinus, who was first Archbishop at York, and afterwards at Rochester. He was bishop nineteen winters, two months, and one and twenty days. This year the son of Oswy's uncle (Oswin), the son of Osric, assumed the government of Deira, and reigned seven winters.
A.D. 645. This year King Kenwal was driven from his dominion by
A.D. 646. This year King Kenwal was baptized.
A.D. 648. This year Kenwal gave his relation Cuthred three thousand hides of land by Ashdown. Cuthred was the son of Cwichelm, Cwichelm of Cynegils.
A.D. 650. This year Egelbert, from Gaul, after Birinus the
Romish bishop, obtained the bishopric of the West-Saxons.
((A.D. 650. This year Birinus the bishop died, and Agilbert the
Frenchman was ordained.))
A.D. 651. This year King Oswin was slain, on the twentieth day of August; and within twelve nights afterwards died Bishop Aidan, on the thirty-first of August.
A.D. 652. This year Kenwal fought at Bradford by the Avon.
A.D. 653. This year, the Middle-Angles under alderman Peada received the right belief.
A.D. 654. This year King Anna was slain, and Botolph began to build that minster at Icanhoe. This year also died Archbishop Honorius, on the thirtieth of September.
A.D. 655. This year Penda was slain at Wingfield, and thirty royal personages with him, some of whom were kings. One of them was Ethelhere, brother of Anna, king of the East-Angles. The Mercians after this became Christians. From the beginning of the world had now elapsed five thousand eight hundred and fifty winters, when Peada, the son of Penda, assumed the government of the Mercians. In his time came together himself and Oswy, brother of King Oswald, and said, that they would rear a minster to the glory of Christ, and the honour of St. Peter. And they did so, and gave it the name of Medhamsted; because there is a well there, called Meadswell. And they began the groundwall, and wrought thereon; after which they committed the work to a monk, whose name was Saxulf. He was very much the friend of God, and him also loved all people. He was nobly born in the world, and rich: he is now much richer with Christ. But King Peada reigned no while; for he was betrayed by his own queen, in Easter-tide. This year Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester, consecrated Deus-dedit to Canterbury, on the twenty-sixth day of March.
A.D. 656. This year was Peada slain; and Wulfhere, son of Penda, succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians. In his time waxed the abbey of Medhamsted very rich, which his brother had begun. The king loved it much, for the love of his brother Peada, and for the love of his wed-brother Oswy, and for the love of Saxulf the abbot. He said, therefore, that he would dignify and honour it by the counsel of his brothers, Ethelred and Merwal; and by the counsel of his sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha; and by the counsel of the archbishop, who was called Deus-dedit; and by the counsel of all his peers, learned and lewd, that in his kingdom were. And he so did. Then sent the king after the abbot, that he should immediately come to him. And he so did. Then said the king to the abbot: "Beloved Saxulf, I have sent after thee for the good of my soul; and I will plainly tell thee for why. My brother Peada and my beloved friend Oswy began a minster, for the love of Christ and St. Peter: but my brother, as Christ willed, is departed from this life; I will therefore intreat thee, beloved friend, that they earnestly proceed on their work; and I will find thee thereto gold and silver, land and possessions, and all that thereto behoveth." Then went the abbot home, and began to work. So he sped, as Christ permitted him; so that in a few years was that minster ready. Then, when the king heard say that, he was very glad; and bade men send through all the nation, after all his thanes; after the archbishop, and after bishops: and after his earls; and after all those that loved God; that they should come to him. And he fixed the day when men should hallow the minster. And when they were hallowing the minster, there was the king, Wulfere, and his brother Ethelred, and his sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha. And the minster was hallowed by Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury; and the Bishop of Rochester, Ithamar; and the Bishop of London, who was called Wina; and the Bishop of the Mercians, whose name was Jeruman; and Bishop Tuda. And there was Wilfrid, priest, that after was bishop; and there were all his thanes that were in his kingdom. When the minster was hallowed, in the name of St. Peter, and St. Paul, and St. Andrew, then stood up the king before all his thanes, and said with a loud voice: "Thanks be to the high almighty God for this worship that here is done; and I will this day glorify Christ and St. Peter, and I will that you all confirm my words.—I Wulfere give to-day to St. Peter, and the Abbot Saxulf, and the monks of the minster, these lands, and these waters, and meres, and fens, and weirs, and all the lands that thereabout lye, that are of my kingdom, freely, so that no man have there any ingress, but the abbot and the monks. This is the gift. From Medhamsted to Northborough; and so to the place that is called Foleys; and so all the fen, right to Ashdike; and from Ashdike to the place called Fethermouth; and so in a right line ten miles long to Ugdike; and so to Ragwell; and from Ragwell five miles to the main river that goeth to Elm and to Wisbeach; and so about three miles to Trokenholt; and from Trokenholt right through all the fen to Derworth; that is twenty miles long; and so to Great Cross; and from Great Cross through a clear water called Bradney; and thence six miles to Paxlade; and so forth through all the meres and fens that lye toward Huntingdon-port; and the meres and lakes Shelfermere and Wittlesey mere, and all the others that thereabout lye; with land and with houses that are on the east side of Shelfermere; thence all the fens to Medhamsted; from Medhamsted all to Welmsford; from Welmsford to Clive; thence to Easton; from Easton to Stamford; from Stamford as the water runneth to the aforesaid Northborough."—These are the lands and the fens that the king gave unto St. Peter's minster.—Then quoth the king: "It is little—this gift— but I will that they hold it so royally and so freely, that there be taken there from neither gild nor gable, but for the monks alone. Thus I will free this minster; that it be not subject except to Rome alone; and hither I will that we seek St. Peter, all that to Rome cannot go." During these words the abbot desired that he would gant him his request. And the king granted it. "I have here (said he) some good monks that would lead their life in retirement, if they wist where. Now here is an island, that is called Ankerig; and I will request, that we may there build a minster to the honour of St. Mary; that they may dwell there who will lead their lives in peace and tranquillity." Then answered the king, and quoth thus: "Beloved Saxulf, not that only which thou desirest, but all things that I know thou desirest in our Lord's behalf, so I approve, and grant. And I bid thee, brother Ethelred, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, for the release of your souls, that you be witnesses, and that you subscribe it with your fingers. And I pray all that come after me, be they my sons, be they my brethren, or kings that come after me, that our gift may stand; as they would be partakers of the life everlasting, and as they would avoid everlasting punishment. Whoso lesseneth our gift, or the gift of other good men, may the heavenly porter lessen him in the kingdom of heaven; and whoso advanceth it, may the heavenly porter advance him in the kingdom of heaven." These are the witnesses that were there, and that subscribed it with their fingers on the cross of Christ, and confirmed it with their tongues. That was, first the king, Wulfere, who confirmed it first with his word, and afterwards wrote with his finger on the cross of Christ, saying thus: "I Wulfere, king, in the presence of kings, and of earls, and of captains, and of thanes, the witnesses of my gift, before the Archbishop Deus-dedit, I confirm it with the cross of Christ." (+)—"And I Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, the friend of this minster, and o[oe] the Abbot Saxulf, commend it with the cross of Christ." (+)—"And I Sighere, king, ratify it with the cross of Christ." (+)—"And I Sibbi, king, subscribe it with the cross of Christ." (+)—"And I Ethelred, the king's brother, granted the same with the cross of Christ." (+)—"And we, the king's sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, approve it."—"And I Archbishop of Canterbury, Deus-dedit, ratify it."—Then confirmed it all the others that were there with the cross of Christ (+): namely, Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester; Wina, Bishop of London; Jeruman, Bishop of the Mercians; and Tuda, bishop; and Wilfrid, priest, who was afterwards bishop; and Eoppa, priest, whom the king, Wulfere, sent to preach christianity in the Isle of Wight; and Saxulf, abbot; and Immine, alderman, and Edbert, alderman, and Herefrith, alderman, and Wilbert, alderman, and Abo, alderman; Ethelbald, Brord, Wilbert, Elmund, Frethegis. These, and many others that were there, the king's most loyal subjects, confirmed it all. This charter was written after our Lord's Nativity 664—the seventh year of King Wulfere—the ninth year of Archbishop Deus-dedir. Then they laid God's curse, and the curse of all saints, and all christian folks, on whosoever undid anything that there was done. "So be it," saith all. "Amen."—When this thing was done, then sent the king to Rome to the Pope Vitalianus that then was, and desired, that he would ratify with his writ and with his blessing, all this aforesaid thing. And the pope then sent his writ, thus saying: "I Vitalianus, pope, grant thee, King Wulfere, and Deus-dedit, archbishop, and Abbot Saxulf, all the things that you desire. And I forbid, that any king, or any man, have any ingress, but the abbot alone; nor shall he be Subject to any man, except the Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If any one breaketh anything of this, St. Peter with his sword destroy him. Whosoever holdeth it, St. Peter with heaven's key undo him the kingdom of heaven."—Thus was the minster of Medhamsted begun, that was afterwards called Peter-borough. Afterwards came another archbishop to Canterbury, who was called Theodorus; a very good man and wise; and held his synod with his bishops and with his clerk. There was Wilfrid, bishop of the Mercians, deprived of his bishopric; and Saxulf, abbot, was there chosen bishop; and Cuthbald, monk of the same minster, was chosen abbot. This synod was holden after our Lord's Nativity six hundred and seventy-three winters.
A.D. 658. This year Kenwal fought with the Welsh at Pen, and pursued them to the Parret. This battle was fought after his return from East-Anglia, where he was three years in exile. Penda had driven him thither and deprived him of his kingdom, because he had discarded his sister.
A.D. 660. This year Bishop Egelbert departed from Kenwal; and Wina held the bishopric three years. And Egbert accepted the bishopric of Paris, in Gaul, by the Seine.
A.D. 661. This year, at Easter, Kenwal fought at Pontesbury; and Wulfere, the son of Penda, pursued him as far as Ashdown. Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm, and King Kenbert, died in one year. Into the Isle of Wight also Wulfere, the son of Penda, penetrated, and transferred the inhabitants to Ethelwald, king of the South-Saxons, because Wulfere adopted him in baptism. And Eoppa, a mass-priest, by command of Wilfrid and King Wulfere, was the first of men who brought baptism to the people of the Isle of Wight.
A.D. 664. This year the sun was eclipsed, on the eleventh of May; and Erkenbert, King of Kent, having died, Egbert his son succeeded to the kingdom. Colman with his companions this year returned to his own country. This same year there was a great plague in the island Britain, in which died Bishop Tuda, who was buried at Wayleigh—Chad and Wilferth were consecrated—And Archbishop Deus-dedit died.
A.D. 667. This year Oswy and Egbert sent Wighard, a priest, to
Rome, that he might be consecrated there Archbishop of
Canterbury; but he died as soon as he came thither.
((A.D. 667. This year Wighard went to Rome, even as King Oswy, and Egbert had sent him.))
A.D. 668. This year Theodore was consecrated archbishop, and sent into Britain.
A.D. 669. This year King Egbert gave to Bass, a mass-priest,
Reculver—to build a minster upon.
A.D. 670. This year died Oswy, King of Northumberland, on the fifteenth day before the calends of March; and Egferth his son reigned after him. Lothere, the nephew of Bishop Egelbert, succeeded to the bishopric over the land of the West-Saxons, and held it seven years. He was consecrated by Archbishop Theodore. Oswy was the son of Ethelfrith, Ethelfrith of Ethelric, Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa.
A.D. 671. This year happened that great destruction among the fowls.
A.D. 672. This year died King Cenwal; and Sexburga his queen held the government one year after him.
A.D. 673. This year died Egbert, King of Kent; and the same year there was a synod at Hertford; and St. Etheldritha began that monastery at Ely.
A.D. 674. This year Escwin succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex.
He was the son of Cenfus, Cenfus of Cenferth, Cenferth of
Cuthgils, Cuthgils of Ceolwulf, Ceolwulf of Cynric, Cynric of
A.D. 675. This year Wulfere, the son of Penda, and Escwin, the son of Cenfus, fought at Bedwin. The same year died Wulfere, and Ethelred succeeded to the government. In his time sent he to Rome Bishop Wilfrid to the pope that then was, called Agatho, and told him by word and by letter, how his brothers Peada and Wulfere, and the Abbot Saxulf, had wrought a minster, called Medhamsted; and that they had freed it, against king and against bishop, from every service; and he besought him that he would confirm it with his writ and with his blessing. And the pope sent then his writ to England, thus saying: "I Agatho, Pope of Rome, greet well the worthy Ethelred, king of the Mercians, and the Archbishop Theodorus of Canterbury, and Saxulf, the bishop of the Mercians, who before was abbot, and all the abbots that are in England; God's greeting and my blessing. I have heard the petition of King Ethelred, and of the Archbishop Theodorus, and of the Bishop Saxulf, and of the Abbot Cuthbald; and I will it, that it in all wise be as you have spoken it. And I ordain, in behalf of God, and of St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every hooded head, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man whatever, have any claim, or gable, or gild, or levy, or take any service of any kind, from the abbey of Medhamsted. I command also, that no shire-bishop be so bold as to hold an ordination or consecration within this abbacy, except the abbot intreat him, nor have there any claim to proxies, or synodals, or anything whatever of any kind. And I will, that the abbot be holden for legate of Rome over all that island; and whatever abbot is there chosen by the monks that he be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I will and decree, that, whatever man may have made a vow to go to Rome, and cannot perform it, either from infirmity, or for his lord's need, or from poverty, or from any other necessity of any kind whatever, whereby he cannot come thither, be he of England, or of whatever other island he be, he may come to that minster of Medhamsted, and have the same forgiveness of Christ and St. Peter, and of the abbot, and of the monks, that he should have if he went to Rome. Now bid I thee, brother Theodorus, that thou let it be proclaimed through all England, that a synod be gathered, and this writ be read and observed. Also I tell thee, Bishop Saxulf, that, as thou desirest it, that the minster be free, so I forbid thee, and all the bishops that after thee come, from Christ and from all his saints, that ye have no demand from that minster, except so much as the abbot will. Now will I say in a word, that, whoso holdeth this writ and this decree, then be he ever dwelling with God Almighty in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso breaketh it, then be he excommunicated, and thrust down with Judas, and with all the devils in hell, except he come to repentance. Amen!" This writ sent the Pope Agatho, and a hundred and twenty-five bishops, by Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, to England. This was done after our Lord's Nativity 680, the sixth year of King Ethelred. Then the king commanded the Archbishop Theodorus, that he should appoint a general Wittenmoot at the place called Hatfield. When they were there collected, then he allowed the letter to be read that the pope sent thither; and all ratified and confirmed it. Then said the king: "All things that my brother Peada, and my brother Wulfere, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, gave and granted to St. Peter and the abbot, these I will may stand; and I will in my day increase it, for their souls and for my soul. Now give I St. Peter to-day into his minster, Medhamsted, these lands, and all that thereto lyeth; that is, Bredon, Repings, Cadney, Swineshead, Hanbury, Lodeshall, Scuffanhall, Cosford, Stratford, Wattleburn, Lushgard, Ethelhun-island, Bardney. These lands I give St. Peter just as freely as I possessed them myself; and so, that none of my successors take anything therefrom. Whoso doeth it, have he the curse of the Pope of Rome, and the curse of all bishops, and of all those that are witnesses here. And this I confirm with the token of Christ." (+) "I Theodorus, Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness to this charter of Medhamsted; and I ratify it with my hand, and I excommunicate all that break anything thereof; and I bless all that hold it." (+) "I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, am witness to this charter; and I ratify this same curse." (+) "I Saxulf, who was first abbot, and now am bishop, I give my curse, and that of all my successors, to those who break this."—"I Ostritha, Ethelred's queen, confirm it."—"I Adrian, legate, ratify it."—"I Putta, Bishop of Rochester, subscribe it."—"I Waldhere, Bishop of London, confirm it."—"I Cuthbald, abbot, ratify it; so that, whoso breaketh it, have he the cursing of all bishops and of all christian folk. Amen."
A.D. 676. This year, in which Hedda succeeded to his bishopric,
Escwin died; and Centwin obtained the government of the
West-Saxons. Centwin was the son of Cynegils, Cynegils of Ceolwulf.
Ethelred, king of the Mercians, in the meantime, overran the land
A.D. 678. This year appeared the comet-star in August, and shone every morning, during three months, like a sunbeam. Bishop Wilfrid being driven from his bishopric by King Everth, two bishops were consecrated in his stead, Bosa over the Deirians, and Eata over the Bernicians. About the same time also Eadhed was consecrated bishop over the people of Lindsey, being the first in that division.
A.D. 679. This year Elwin was slain, by the river Trent, on the spot where Everth and Ethelred fought. This year also died St. Etheldritha; and the monastery of Coldingiham was destroyed by fire from heaven.
A.D. 680. This year Archbishop Theodore appointed a synod at
Hatfield; because he was desirous of rectifying the belief of
Christ; and the same year died Hilda, Abbess of Whitby.
A.D. 681. This year Trumbert was consecrated Bishop of Hexham, and Trumwin bishop of the Picts; for they were at that time subject to this country. This year also Centwin pursued the Britons to the sea.
A.D. 684. This year Everth sent an army against the Scots, under the command of his alderman, Bright, who lamentably plundered and burned the churches of God.
A.D. 685. This year King Everth commanded Cuthbert to be consecrated a bishop; and Archbishop Theodore, on the first day of Easter, consecrated him at York Bishop of Hexham; for Trumbert had been deprived of that see. The same year Everth was slain by the north sea, and a large army with him, on the thirteenth day before the calends of June. He continued king fifteen winters; and his brother Elfrith succeeded him in the government. Everth was the son of Oswy. Oswy of Ethelferth, Ethelferth of Ethelric, Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa. About this time Ceadwall began to struggle for a kingdom. Ceadwall was the son of Kenbert, Kenbert of Chad, Chad of Cutha, Cutha of Ceawlin, Ceawlin of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic. Mull, who was afterwards consigned to the flames in Kent, was the brother of Ceadwall. The same year died Lothhere, King of Kent; and John was consecrated Bishop of Hexham, where he remained till Wilferth was restored, when John was translated to York on the death of Bishop Bosa. Wilferth his priest was afterwards consecrated Bishop of York, and John retired to his monastery (21) in the woods of Delta. This year there was in Britain a bloody rain, and milk and butter were turned to blood.
((A.D. 685. And in this same year Cuthbert was consecrated
Bishop of Hexham by Archbishop Theodore at York, because Bishop
Tumbert had been driven from the bishopric.))
A.D. 686. This year Ceadwall and his brother Mull spread devastation in Kent and the Isle of Wight. This same Ceadwall gave to St. Peter's minster, at Medhamsted, Hook; which is situated in an island called Egborough. Egbald at this time was abbot, who was the third after Saxulf; and Theodore was archbishop in Kent.
A.D. 687. This year was Mull consigned to the flames in Kent, and twelve other men with him; after which, in the same year, Ceadwall overran the kingdom of Kent.
A.D. 688. This year Ceadwall went to Rome, and received baptism at the hands of Sergius the pope, who gave him the name of Peter; but in the course of seven nights afterwards, on the twelfth day before the calends of May, he died in his crisom-cloths, and was buried in the church of St. Peter. To him succeeded Ina in the kingdom of Wessex, and reigned thirty-seven winters. He founded the monastery of Glastonbury; after which he went to Rome, and continued there to the end of his life. Ina was the son of Cenred, Cenred of Ceolwald; Ceolwald was the brother of Cynegils; and both were the sons of Cuthwin, who was the son of Ceawlin; Ceawlin was the son of Cynric, and Cynric of Cerdic.
((A.D. 688. This year King Caedwalla went to Rome, and received baptism of Pope Sergius, and he gave him the name of Peter, and in about seven days afterwards, on the twelfth before the kalends of May, while he was yet in his baptismal garments, he died: and he was buried in St. Peter's church. And Ina succeeded to the kingdom of the West-Saxons after him, and he reigned twenty-seven years.))
A.D. 690. This year Archbishop Theodore, who had been bishop twenty-two winters, departed this life, (22) and was buried within the city of Canterbury. Bertwald, who before this was abbot of Reculver, on the calends of July succeeded him in the see; which was ere this filled by Romish bishops, but henceforth with English. Then were there two kings in Kent, Wihtred and Webherd.
A.D. 693. This year was Bertwald consecrated archbishop by Godwin, bishop of the Gauls, on the fifth day before the nones of July; about which time died Gifmund, who was Bishop of Rochester; and Archbishop Bertwald consecrated Tobias in his stead. This year also Dryhtelm (23) retired from the world.
A.D. 694. This year the people of Kent covenanted with Ina, and gave him 30,000 pounds in friendship, because they had burned his brother Mull. Wihtred, who succeeded to the kingdom of Kent, and held it thirty-three winters, was the son of Egbert, Egbert of Erkenbert, Erkenbert of Eadbald, Eadbald of Ethelbert. And as soon as he was king, he ordained a great council to meet in the place that is called Bapchild; in which presided Wihtred, King of Kent, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Brihtwald, and Bishop Tobias of Rochester; and with him were collected abbots and abbesses, and many wise men, all to consult about the advantage of God's churches that are in Kent. Now began the king to speak, and said, "I will that all the minsters and the churches, that were given and bequeathed to the worship of God in the days of believing kings, my predecessors, and in the days of my relations of King Ethelbert and of those that followed him—shall so remain to the worship of God, and stand fast for evermore. For I Wihtred, earthly king, urged on by the heavenly king, and with the spirit of righteousness annealed, have of our progenitors learned this, that no layman should have any right to possess himself of any church or of any of the things that belong to the church. And, therefore, strongly and truly, we set and decree, and in the name of Almighty God, and of all saints, we forbid all our succeeding kings, and aldermen, and all lawmen, ever, any lordship over churches, and over all their appurtenances, which I or my elders in old days have given for a perpetual inheritance to the glory of Christ and our Lady St. Mary, and the holy apostles. And look! when it happeneth, that bishop, or abbot, or abbess, depart from this life, be it told the archbishop, and with his counsel and injunction be chosen such as be worthy. And the life of him, that shall be chosen to so holy a thing, let the archbishop examine, and his cleanness; and in no wise be chosen any one, or to so holy a thing consecrated, without the archbishop's counsel. Kings shall appoint earls, and aldermen, sheriffs, and judges; but the archbishop shall consult and provide for God's flock: bishops, and abbots, and abbesses, and priests, and deacons, he shall choose and appoint; and also sanctify and confirm with good precepts and example, lest that any of God's flock go astray and perish—"
A.D. 697. This year the Southumbrians slew Ostritha, the queen of Ethelred, the sister of Everth.
A.D. 699. This year the Picts slew Alderman Burt.
A.D. 702. This year Kenred assumed the government of the
A.D. 703. This year died Bishop Hedda, having held the see of
Winchester twenty-seven winters.
A.D. 704. This year Ethelred, the son of Penda, King of Mercia, entered into a monastic life, having reigned twenty-nine winters; and Cenred succeeded to the government.
A.D. 705. This year died Ealdferth, king of the Northumbrians, on the nineteenth day before the calends of January, at Driffield; and was succeeded by his son Osred. Bishop Saxulf also died the same year.
A.D. 709. This year died Aldhelm, who was bishop by Westwood. The land of the West-Saxons was divided into two bishoprics in the first days of Bishop Daniel; who held one whilst Aldhelm held the other. Before this it was only one. Forthere succeeded to Aldhelm; and Ceolred succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia. And Cenred went to Rome; and Offa with him. And Cenred was there to the end of his life. The same year died Bishop Wilferth, at Oundle, but his body was carried to Ripon. He was the bishop whom King Everth compelled to go to Rome.
A.D. 710. This year Acca, priest of Wilferth, succeeded to the bishopric that Wilferth ere held; and Alderman Bertfrith fought with the Picts between Heugh and Carau. Ina also, and Nun his relative, fought with Grant, king of the Welsh; and the same year Hibbald was slain.
A.D. 714. This year died Guthlac the holy, and King Pepin.
A.D. 715. This year Ina and Ceolred fought at Wanborough; (24) and King Dagobert departed this life.
A.D. 716. This year Osred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain near the southern borders. He reigned eleven winters after Ealdferth. Cenred then succeeded to the government, and held it two years; then Osric, who held it eleven years. This same year died Ceolred, king of the Mercians. His body lies at Lichfield; but that of Ethelred, the son of Penda, at Bardney. Ethelbald then succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia, and held it one and forty winters. Ethelbald was the son of Alwy, Alwy of Eawa, Eawa of Webba, whose genealogy is already written. The venerable Egbert about this time converted the monks of Iona to the right faith, in the regulation of Easter, and the ecclesiastical tonsure.
A.D. 718. This year died Ingild, the brother of Ina. Cwenburga and Cuthburga were their sisters. Cuthburga reared the monastery of Wimburn; and, though given in marriage to Ealdferth, King of Northumberland, they parted during their lives.
A.D. 721. This year Bishop Daniel went to Rome; and the same year Ina slew Cynewulf, the etheling. This year also died the holy Bishop John; who was bishop thirty-three years, and eight months, and thirteen days. His body now resteth at Beverley.
A.D. 722. This year Queen Ethelburga destroyed Taunton, which
Ina had formerly built; Ealdbert wandered a wretched exile in
Surrey and Sussex; and Ina fought with the South-Saxons.
A.D. 725. This year died Wihtred, King of Kent, on the ninth day before the calends of May, after a reign of thirty-two winters. His pedigree is above; and he was succeeded by Eadbert. Ina this year also fought with the South-Saxons, and slew Ealdbert, the etheling, whom he had before driven into exile.
A.D. 727. This year died Tobias, Bishop of Rochester: and
Archbishop Bertwald consecrated Aldulf bishop in his stead.
A.D. 728. This year (25) Ina went to Rome, and there gave up the ghost. He was succeeded in the kingdom of Wessex by Ethelhard his relative, who held it fourteen years; but he fought this same year with Oswald the etheling. Oswald was the son of Ethelbald, Ethelbald of Cynebald, Cynebald of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Ceawlin.
A.D. 729. This year appeared the comet-star, and St. Egbert died in Iona. This year also died the etheling Oswald; and Osric was slain, who was eleven winters king of Northumberland; to which kingdom Ceolwulf succeeded, and held it eight years. The said Ceolwulf was the son of Cutha, Cutha of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Leodwald, Leodwald of Egwald, Egwald of Ealdhelm, Ealdhelm of Occa, Occa of Ida, Ida of Eoppa. Archbishop Bertwald died this year on the ides of January. He was bishop thirty-seven winters, and six months, and fourteen days. The same year Tatwine, who was before a priest at Bredon in Mercia, was consecrated archbishop by Daniel Bishop of Winchester, Ingwald Bishop of London, Aldwin Bishop of Lichfield, and Aldulf Bishop of Rochester, on the tenth day of June. He enjoyed the archbishopric about three years.
((A.D. 729. And the same year Osric died; he was king eleven years; then Ceolwulf succeeded to the kingdom, and held it eight years.))
A.D. 733. This year Ethelbald took Somerton; the sun was eclipsed; and Acca was driven from his bishopric.
A.D. 734. This year was the moon as if covered with blood; and Archbishop Tatwine and Bede departed this life; and Egbert was consecrated bishop.
A.D. 735. This year Bishop Egbert received the pall at Rome.
A.D. 736. This year Archbishop Nothelm received the pall from the bishop of the Romans.
A.D. 737. This year Bishop Forthere and Queen Frithogitha went to Rome; and King Ceolwulf received the clerical tonsure, giving his kingdom to Edbert, his uncle's son: who reigned one and twenty winters. Bishop Ethelwold and Acca died this year, and Cynewulf was consecrated bishop. The same year also Ethelbald ravaged the land of the Northumbrians.
A.D. 738. This year Eadbery, the son of Eata the son of Leodwald, succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom, and held it one and twenty winters. Archbishop Egbert, the son of Eata, was his brother. They both rest under one porch in the city of York.
A.D. 740. This year died King Ethelhard; and Cuthred, his relative, succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom, which he held fourteen winters, during which time he fought many hard battles with Ethelbald, king of the Mercians. On the death of Archbishop Nothelm, Cuthbert was consecrated archbishop, and Dunn, Bishop of Rochester. This year York was on fire.
A.D. 742. This year there was a large synod assembled at
Cliff's-Hoo; and there was Ethelbald, king of Mercia, with
Archbishop Cuthbert, and many other wise men.
A.D. 743. This year Ethelbald, king of Mercia, and Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought with the Welsh.
A.D. 744. This year Daniel resigned the see of Winchester; to which Hunferth was promoted. The stars went swiftly shooting; and Wilferth the younger, who had been thirty winters Bishop of York, died on the third day before the calends of May.
A.D. 745. This year died Daniel. Forty-three winters had then elapsed since he received the episcopal function.
A.D. 746. This year was King Selred slain.
A.D. 748. This year was slain Cynric, etheling of the West-Saxons; Edbert, King of Kent, died; and Ethelbert, son of King Wihtred, succeeded to the kingdom.
A.D. 750. This year Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought with the proud chief Ethelhun.
A.D. 752. This year, the twelfth of his reign, Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought at Burford (27) with Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, and put him to flight.
A.D. 753. This year Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought against the Welsh.
A.D. 754. This year died Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons; and Sebright, his relative, succeeded to the kingdom, which he held one year; Cyneard succeeded Humferth in the see of Winchester; and Canterbury was this year on fire.
A.D. 755. This year Cynewulf, with the consent of the West-Saxon council, deprived Sebright, his relative, for unrighteous deeds, of his kingdom, except Hampshire; which he retained, until he slew the alderman who remained the longest with him. Then Cynewulf drove him to the forest of Andred, where he remained, until a swain stabbed him at Privett, and revenged the alderman, Cumbra. The same Cynewulf fought many hard battles with the Welsh; and, about one and thirty winters after he had the kingdom, he was desirous of expelling a prince called Cyneard, who was the brother of Sebright. But he having understood that the king was gone, thinly attended, on a visit to a lady at Merton, (28) rode after him, and beset him therein; surrounding the town without, ere the attendants of the king were aware of him. When the king found this, he went out of doors, and defended himself with courage; till, having looked on the etheling, he rushed out upon him, and wounded him severely. Then were they all fighting against the king, until they had slain him. As soon as the king's thanes in the lady's bower heard the tumult, they ran to the spot, whoever was then ready. The etheling immediately offered them life and rewards; which none of them would accept, but continued fighting together against him, till they all lay dead, except one British hostage, and he was severely wounded. When the king's thanes that were behind heard in the morning that the king was slain, they rode to the spot, Osric his alderman, and Wiverth his thane, and the men that he had left behind; and they met the etheling at the town, where the king lay slain. The gates, however, were locked against them, which they attempted to force; but he promised them their own choice of money and land, if they would grant him the kingdom; reminding them, that their relatives were already with him, who would never desert him. To which they answered, that no relative could be dearer to them than their lord, and that they would never follow his murderer. Then they besought their relatives to depart from him, safe and sound. They replied, that the same request was made to their comrades that were formerly with the king; "And we are as regardless of the result," they rejoined, "as our comrades who with the king were slain." Then they continued fighting at the gates, till they rushed in, and slew the etheling and all the men that were with him; except one, who was the godson of the alderman, and whose life he spared, though he was often wounded. This same Cynewulf reigned one and thirty winters. His body lies at Winchester, and that of the etheling at Axminster. Their paternal pedigree goeth in a direct line to Cerdic. The same year Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, was slain at Seckington; and his body lies at Repton. He reigned one and forty years; and Bernred then succeeded to the kingdom, which he held but a little while, and unprosperously; for King Offa the same year put him to flight, and assumed the government; which he held nine and thirty winters. His son Everth held it a hundred and forty days. Offa was the son of Thingferth, Thingferth of Enwulf, Enwulf of Osmod, Osmod of Eawa, Eawa of Webba, Webba of Creoda, Creoda of Cenwald, Cenwald of Cnebba, Cnebba of Icel, Icel of Eomer, Eomer of Angelthew, Angelthew of Offa, Offa of Wermund, Wermund of Witley, Witley of Woden.
((A.D. 755. This year Cynewulf deprived King Sigebert of his kingdom; and Sigebert's brother, Cynehard by name, slew Cynewulf at Merton; and he reigned thirty-one years. And in the same year Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, was slain at Repton. And Offa succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians, Bernred being driven out.))
A.D. 757. This year Eadbert, king of the Northumbrians, received the tonsure, and his son Osulf the kingdom; which he held one year. Him his own domestics slew on the ninth day before the kalends of August.
A.D. 758. This year died Archbishop Cuthbert. He held the archbishopric eighteen years.
A.D. 759. This year Bregowin was invested archbishop at Michaelmas, and continued four years. Mull Ethelwold this year succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom, held it six winters, and then resigned it.
A.D. 760. This year died Ethelbert, King of Kent, who was the son of King Wihtred, and also of Ceolwulf.
A.D. 761. This year was the severe winter; and Mull, king of the Northumbrians, slew Oswin at Edwin's-Cliff, on the eighth day before the ides of August.
A.D. 762. This year died Archbishop Bregowin.
A.D. 763. This year Eanbert was invested archbishop, on the fortieth day over mid-winter; and Frithwald, Bishop of Whitern, died on the nones of May. He was consecrated at York, on the eighteenth day before the calends of September, in the sixth year of the reign of Ceolwulf, and was bishop nine and twenty winters. Then was Petwin consecrated Bishop of Whitern at Adlingfleet, on the sixteenth day before the calends of August.
A.D. 764. This year Archbishop Eanbert received the pall.
A.D. 765. This year Alred succeeded to the kingdom of the
Northumbrians, and reigned eight winters.
A.D. 766. This year died Archbishop Egbert at York, on the thirteenth day before the calends of December, who was bishop thirty-six winters; and Frithbert at Hexham, who was bishop there thirty-four winters. Ethelbert was consecrated to York, and Elmund to Hexham.
A.D. 768. This year died King Eadbert, the son of Eata, on the fourteenth day before the calends of September.
A.D. 772. This year died Bishop Mildred.
A.D. 774. This year the Northumbrians banished their king, Alred, from York at Easter-tide; and chose Ethelred, the son of Mull, for their lord, who reigned four winters. This year also appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.
A.D. 775. This year Cynewulf and Offa fought near Bensington, and Offa took possession of the town. In the days of this king, Offa, there was an abbot at Medhamsted, called Beonna; who, with the consent of all the monks of the minster, let to farm, to Alderman Cuthbert, ten copyhold lands at Swineshead, with leasow and with meadow, and with all the appurtenances; provided that the said Cuthbert gave the said abbot fifty pounds therefore, and each year entertainment for one night, or thirty shillings in money; (29) provided also, that after his decease the said lands should revert to the monastery. The king, Offa, and King Everth, and Archbishop Hibbert, and Bishop Ceolwulf, and Bishop Inwona, and Abbot Beonna, and many other bishops, and abbots, and rich men, were witnesses to this. In the days of this same Offa was an alderman, of the name of Brorda, who requested the king for his sake to free his own monastery, called Woking, because he would give it to Medhamsted and St. Peter, and the abbot that then was, whose name was Pusa. Pusa succeeded Beonna; and the king loved him much. And the king freed the monastery of Woking, against king, against bishop, against earl, and against all men' so that no man should have any claim there, except St. Peter and the abbot. This was done at the king's town called Free-Richburn.
A.D. 776. This year died Bishop Petwin, on the thirteenth day before the calends of October, having been bishop fourteen winters. The same year Ethelbert was consecrated Bishop of Whitern, at York, on the seventeenth day before the calends of July.
A.D. 778. This year Ethelbald and Herbert slew three high-sheriffs—Eldulf, the son of Bosa, at Coniscliff; Cynewulf and Eggo at Helathyrn—on the eleventh day before the calends of April. Then Elwald, having banished Ethelred from his territory, seized on his kingdom, and reigned ten winters.
A.D. 780. This year a battle was fought between the Old-Saxons and the Franks; and the high-sheriffs of Northumbria committed to the flames Alderman Bern at Silton, on the ninth day before the calends of January. The same year Archbishop Ethelbert died at York, and Eanbald was consecrated in his stead; Bishop Cynewulf retired to Holy-island; Elmund, Bishop of Hexham, died on the seventh day before the ides of September, and Tilbert was consecrated in his stead, on the sixth day before the nones of October; Hibbald was consecrated Bishop of Holy-island at Sockbury; and King Elwald sent to Rome for a pall in behoof of Archbishop Eanbald.
A.D. 782. This year died Werburga, Queen of Ceolred, and Bishop
Cynewulf, in Holy-island; and the same year there was a synod at
A.D. 784. This year Cyneard slew King Cynewulf, and was slain himself, and eighty-four men with him. Then Bertric undertook the government of the West-Saxons, and reigned sixteen years. His body is deposited at Wareham; and his pedigree goeth in a direct line to Cerdic. At this time reigned Elmund king in Kent, the father of Egbert; and Egbert was the father of Athulf.
A.D. 785. This year died Bothwin, Abbot of Ripon, and a litigious synod was holden at Chalk-hythe; Archbishop Eanbert resigned some part of his bishopric, Hibbert was appointed bishop by King Offa, and Everth was consecrated king. In the meantime legates were sent from Rome to England by Pope Adrian, to renew the blessings of faith and peace which St. Gregory sent us by the mission of Bishop Augustine, and they were received with every mark of honour and respect.
A.D. 787. This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to wife. And in his days came first three ships of the Northmen from the land of robbers. The reve (30) then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king's town; for he knew not what they were; and there was he slain. These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the land of the English nation.
A.D. 788. This year there was a synod assembled at Fingall in Northumberland, on the fourth day before the nones of September; and Abbot Albert departed this life.
A.D. 789. This year Elwald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by Siga, on the eleventh day before the calends of October; and a heavenly light was often seen on the spot where he was slain. He was buried in the church of Hexham; and Osred, the son of Alred, who was his nephew, succeeded him in the government. This year there was a synod assembled at Acley.
A.D. 790. This year Archbishop Eanbert died, and Abbot Ethelherd
was chosen archbishop the same year. Osred, king of the
Northumbrians, was betrayed and banished from his kingdom, and
Ethelred, the son of Ethelwald, succeeded him.
A.D. 791. This year Baldulf was consecrated Bishop of Whitern, on the sixteenth day before the calends of August, by Archbishop Eanbald and Bishop Ethelbert.
A.D. 792. This year Offa, King of Mercia, commanded that King Ethelbert should be beheaded; and Osred, who had been king of the Northumbrians, returning home after his exile, was apprehended and slain, on the eighteenth day before the calends of October. His body is deposited at Tinemouth. Ethelred this year, on the third day before the calends of October, took unto himself a new wife, whose name was Elfleda.
A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter. Siga died on the eighth day before the calends of March.
A.D. 794. This year died Pope Adrian; and also Offa, King of Mercia, on the fourth day before the ides of August, after he had reigned forty winters. Ethelred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by his own people, on the thirteenth day before the calends of May; in consequence of which, Bishops Ceolwulf and Eadbald retired from the land. Everth took to the government of Mercia, and died the same year. Eadbert, whose other name was Pryn, obtained the kingdom of Kent; and Alderman Ethelherd died on the calends of August. In the meantime, the heathen armies spread devastation among the Northumbrians, and plundered the monastery of King Everth at the mouth of the Wear. There, however, some of their leaders were slain; and some of their ships also were shattered to pieces by the violence of the weather; many of the crew were drowned; and some, who escaped alive to the shore, were soon dispatched at the mouth of the river.
A.D. 795. This year was the moon eclipsed, between cock-crowing and dawn, (31) on the fifth day before the calends of April; and Erdulf succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom on the second before the ides of May. He was afterwards consecrated and raised to his throne, at York, on the seventh day before the calends of June, by Archbishop Eanbald, and Bishops Ethelbert, Hibbald, and Baldulf.
A.D. 796. This year died Archbishop Eanbald, on the fourth day before the ides of August; and his body is deposited at York. The same year also died Bishop Ceolwulf; and another Eanbald was consecrated to the see of the former, on the nineteenth day before the calends of September. About the same time Cynewulf, King of Mercia, made inroads upon the inhabitants of Kent as far as the marsh; and the Mercians seized Edbert Pryn, their king, led him bound into Mercia, and suffered men to pick out his eyes, and cut off his hands. (32) And Ethelard, Archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod, wherein he ratified and confirmed, by command of Pope Leo, all things concerning God's monasteries that were fixed in Witgar's days, and in other king's days, saying thus: "I Ethelard, the humble Archbishop of Canterbury, with the unanimous concurrence of the whole synod, and of all the congregations of all the minsters, to which in former days freedom was given by faithful men, in God's name and by his terrible judgment do decree, as I have command from Pope Leo, that henceforth none dare to choose them lords from lewd men over God's inheritance; but, as it is in the writ that the pope has given, or holy men have settled, our fathers and our teachers, concerning holy minsters, so they continue untainted without any resistance. If there is any man that will not observe this decree of God, of our pope, and of us, but overlooketh it, and holdeth it for nought, let them know, that they shall give an account before the judgment-seat of God. And I Ethelard, archbishop, with twelve bishops, and with three and twenty abbots, this same with the rood-token of Christ confirm and fasten."
((A.D. 796. This year Offa, king of the Mercians, died on the fourth before the kalends of August; he reigned forty years.))
A.D. 797. This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as he was before. Eanbald also received the pall on the sixth day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the third before the calends of November.
A.D. 798. This year a severe battle was fought in the Northumbrian territory, during Lent, on the fourth day before the nones of April, at Whalley; wherein Alric, the son of Herbert, was slain, and many others with him.
A.D. 799. This year Archbishop Ethelbert, and Cynbert, Bishop of Wessex, went to Rome. In the meantime Bishop Alfun died at Sudbury, and was buried at Dunwich. After him Tidfrith was elected to the see; and Siric, king of the East Saxons, went to Rome. In this year the body of Witburga was found entire, and free from decay, at Dercham, after a lapse of five and fifty years from the period of her decease.
A.D. 800. This year was the moon eclipsed, at eight in the evening, on the seventeenth day before the calends of February; and soon after died King Bertric and Alderman Worr. Egbert succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom; and the same day Ethelmund, alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford; where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of Wiltshire, and a terrible conflict ensued, in which both the commanders were slain, but the men of Wiltshire obtained the victory.
((A.D. 801. This year Beornmod was ordained Bishop of
A.D. 802. This year was the moon eclipsed, at dawn, on the thirteenth day before the calends of January; and Bernmod was consecrated Bishop of Rochester.
A.D. 803. This year died Hibbald, Bishop of Holy-island, on the twenty-fourth of June, and Egbert was consecrated in his stead, on the thirteenth of June following. Archbishop Ethelherd also died in Kent, and Wulfred was chosen archbishop in his stead. Abbot Forthred, in the course of the same year, departed this life.
A.D. 804. This year Archbishop Wulfred received his pall.
A.D. 805. This year died King Cuthred in Kent, and Abbess
Colburga, and Alderman Herbert.
A.D. 806. This year was the moon eclipsed, on the first of September; Erdwulf, king of the Northumbrians, was banished from his dominions; and Eanbert, Bishop of Hexham, departed this life. This year also, on the next day before the nones of June, a cross was seen in the moon, on a Wednesday, at the dawn; and afterwards, during the same year, on the third day before the calends of September, a wonderful circle was displayed about the sun.
A.D. 807. This year was the sun eclipsed, precisely at eleven in the morning, on the seventeenth day before the calends of August.
A.D. 812. This year died the Emperor Charlemagne, after a reign of five and forty winters; and Archbishop Wulfred, accompanied by Wigbert, Bishop of Wessex, undertook a journey to Rome.
A.D. 813. This year Archbishop Wulfred returned to his own see, with the blessing of Pope Leo; and King Egbert spread devastation in Cornwall from east to west.
A.D. 814. This year died Leo, the noble and holy pope; and
Stephen succeeded him in the papal government.
A.D. 816. This year died Pope Stephen; and Paschalis was consecrated pope after him. This same year the school of the English nation at Rome was destroyed by fire.
A.D. 819. This year died Cenwulf, King of Mercia; and Ceolwulf (33) succeeded him. Alderman Eadbert also departed this life.
A.D. 821. This year Ceolwulf was deprived of his kingdom.
A.D. 822. This year two aldermen were slain, whose names were
Burhelm and Mucca; and a synod was holden at Cliff's-Hoo.
A.D. 823. This year a battle was fought between the Welsh in Cornwall and the people of Devonshire, at Camelford; and in the course of the same year Egbert, king of the West-Saxons, and Bernwulf, King of Mercia, fought a battle at Wilton, in which Egbert gained the victory, but there was great slaughter on both sides. Then sent he his son Ethelwulf into Kent, with a large detachment from the main body of the army, accompanied by his bishop, Elstan, and his alderman, Wulfherd; who drove Baldred, the king, northward over the Thames. Whereupon the men of Kent immediately submitted to him; as did also the inhabitants of Surrey, and Sussex, and Essex; who had been unlawfully kept from their allegiance by his relatives. The same year also, the king of the East-Angles, and his subjects besought King Egbert to give them peace and protection against the terror of the Mercians; whose king, Bernwulf, they slew in the course of the same year.
A.D. 825. This year Ludecan, King of Mercia, was slain, and his five aldermen with him; after which Wiglaf succeeded to the kingdom.
A.D. 827. This year was the moon eclipsed, on mid-winter's mass-night; and King Egbert, in the course of the same year, conquered the Mercian kingdom, and all that is south of the Humber, being the eighth king who was sovereign of all the British dominions. Ella, king of the South-Saxons, was the first who possessed so large a territory; the second was Ceawlin, king of the West-Saxons: the third was Ethelbert, King of Kent; the fourth was Redwald, king of the East-Angles; the fifth was Edwin, king of the Northumbrians; the sixth was Oswald, who succeeded him; the seventh was Oswy, the brother of Oswald; the eighth was Egbert, king of the West-Saxons. This same Egbert led an army against the Northumbrians as far as Dore, where they met him, and offered terms of obedience and subjection, on the acceptance of which they returned home.
A.D. 828. This year Wiglaf recovered his Mercian kingdom, and Bishop Ethelwald departed this life. The same year King Egbert led an army against the people of North-Wales, and compelled them all to peaceful submission.
A.D. 829. This year died Archbishop Wulfred; and Abbot Feologild was after him chosen to the see, on the twenty-fifth of April, and consecrated on a Sunday, the eleventh of June. On the thirteenth of August he was dead!
A.D. 830. This year Ceolnoth was chosen and consecrated archbishop on the death of Abbot Feologild.
A.D. 831. This year Archbishop Ceolnoth received the pall.
A.D. 832. This year heathen men overran the Isle of Shepey.
A.D. 833. This year fought King Egbert with thirty-five pirates at Charmouth, where a great slaughter was made, and the Danes remained masters of the field. Two bishops, Hereferth and Wigen, and two aldermen, Dudda and Osmod, died the same year.
A.D. 835. This year came a great naval armament into West-Wales, where they were joined by the people, who commenced war against Egbert, the West-Saxon king. When he heard this, he proceeded with his army against them and fought with them at Hengeston, where he put to flight both the Welsh and the Danes.
A.D. 836. This year died King Egbert. Him Offa, King of Mercia, and Bertric, the West-Saxon king, drove out of England into France three years before he was king. Bertric assisted Offa because he had married his daughter. Egbert having afterwards returned, reigned thirty-seven winters and seven months. Then Ethelwulf, the son of Egbert, succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom; and he gave his son Athelstan the kingdom of Kent, and of Essex, and of Surrey, and of Sussex.
A.D. 837. This year Alderman Wulfherd fought at Hamton with thirty-three pirates, and after great slaughter obtained the victory, but he died the same year. Alderman Ethelhelm also, with the men of Dorsetshire, fought with the Danish army in Portland-isle, and for a good while put them to flight; but in the end the Danes became masters of the field, and slew the alderman.
A.D. 838. This year Alderman Herbert was slain by the heathens, and many men with him, among the Marshlanders. The same year, afterwards, in Lindsey, East-Anglia, and Kent, were many men slain by the army.
A.D. 839. This year there was great slaughter in London,
Canterbury, and Rochester.
A.D. 840. This year King Ethelwulf fought at Charmouth with thirty-five ship's-crews, and the Danes remained masters of the place. The Emperor Louis died this year.
A.D. 845. This year Alderman Eanwulf, with the men of Somersetshire, and Bishop Ealstan, and Alderman Osric, with the men of Dorsetshire, fought at the mouth of the Parret with the Danish army; and there, after making a great slaughter, obtained the victory.
A.D. 851. This year Alderman Ceorl, with the men of Devonshire, fought the heathen army at Wemburg, and after making great slaughter obtained the victory. The same year King Athelstan and Alderman Elchere fought in their ships, and slew a large army at Sandwich in Kent, taking nine ships and dispersing the rest. The heathens now for the first time remained over winter in the Isle of Thanet. The same year came three hundred and fifty ships into the mouth of the Thames; the crew of which went upon land, and stormed Canterbury and London; putting to flight Bertulf, king of the Mercians, with his army; and then marched southward over the Thames into Surrey. Here Ethelwulf and his son Ethelbald, at the head of the West-Saxon army, fought with them at Ockley, and made the greatest slaughter of the heathen army that we have ever heard reported to this present day. There also they obtained the victory.
A.D. 852. About this time Abbot Ceolred of Medhamsted, with the concurrence of the monks, let to hand the land of Sempringham to Wulfred, with the provision, that after his demise the said land should revert to the monastery; that Wulfred should give the land of Sleaford to Meohamsted, and should send each year into the monastery sixty loads of wood, twelve loads of coal, six loads of peat, two tuns full of fine ale, two neats' carcases, six hundred loaves, and ten kilderkins of Welsh ale; one horse also each year, and thirty shillings, and one night's entertainment. This agreement was made in the presence of King Burhred. Archbishop Ceolnoth, Bishops Tunbert, Kenred, Aldhun, and Bertred; Abbots Witred and Weftherd, Aldermen Ethelherd and Hunbert, and many others.
A.D. 853. This year Burhred, King of Mercia, with his council, besought King Ethelwulf to assist him to subdue North-Wales. He did so; and with an army marched over Mercia into North-Wales, and made all the inhabitants subject to him. The same year King Ethelwulf sent his son Alfred to Rome; and Leo, who was then pope, consecrated him king, and adopted him as his spiritual son. The same year also Elchere with the men of Kent, and Huda with the men of Surrey, fought in the Isle of Thanet with the heathen army, and soon obtained the victory; but there were many men slain and drowned on either hand, and both the aldermen killed. Burhred, the Mercian king, about this time received in marriage the daughter of Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons.
A.D. 854. This year the heathen men (34) for the first time remained over winter in the Isle of Shepey. The same year King Ethelwulf registered a TENTH of his land over all his kingdom for the honour of God and for his own everlasting salvation. The same year also he went to Rome with great pomp, and was resident there a twelvemonth. Then he returned homeward; and Charles, king of the Franks, gave him his daughter, whose name was Judith, to be his queen. After this he came to his people, and they were fain to receive him; but about two years after his residence among the Franks he died; and his body lies at Winchester. He reigned eighteen years and a half. And Ethelwulf was the son of Egbert, Egbert of Ealhmund, Ealhmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa, Eoppa of Ingild; Ingild was the brother of Ina, king of the West-Saxons, who held that kingdom thirty-seven winters, and afterwards went to St. Peter, where he died. And they were the sons of Cenred, Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cutha, Cutha of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Ceawlin, Ceawlin of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda, Creoda of Cerdic, Cerdic of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wig, Wig of Freawine, Freawine of Frithugar, Frithugar of Brond, Brond of Balday, Balday of Woden, Woden of Frithuwald, Frithuwald of Freawine, Freawine of Frithuwualf, Frithuwulf of Finn, Finn of Godwulf, Godwulf of Great, Great of Taetwa, Taetwa of Beaw, Beaw of Sceldwa, Sceldwa of Heremod, Heremod of Itermon, Itermon of Hathra, Hathra of Hwala, Hwala of Bedwig, Bedwig of Sceaf; that is, the son of Noah, who was born in Noah's ark: Laznech, Methusalem, Enoh, Jared, Malalahel, Cainion, Enos, Seth, Adam the first man, and our Father, that is, Christ. Amen. Then two sons of Ethelwulf succeeded to the kingdom; Ethelbald to Wessex, and Ethelbert to Kent, Essex, Surrey, and Sussex. Ethelbald reigned five years. Alfred, his third son, Ethelwulf had sent to Rome; and when the pope heard say that he was dead, he consecrated Alfred king, and held him under spiritual hands, as his father Ethelwulf had desired, and for which purpose he had sent him thither.
((A.D. 855. And on his return homewards he took to (wife) the daughter of Charles, king of the French, whose name was Judith, and he came home safe. And then in about two years he died, and his body lies at Winchester: and he reigned eighteen years and a half, and he was the son of Egbert. And then his two sons succeeded to the kingdom; Ethelbald to the kingdom of the West-Saxons, and Ethelbert to the kingdom of the Kentish-men, and of the East-Saxons, and of Surrey, and of the South-Saxons. And he reigned five years.))
A.D. 860. This year died King Ethelbald, and his body lies at Sherborn. Ethelbert his brother then succeeded to the whole kingdom, and held it in good order and great tranquillity. In his days came a large naval force up into the country, and stormed Winchester. But Alderman Osric, with the command of Hampshire, and Alderman Ethelwulf, with the command of Berkshire, fought against the enemy, and putting them to flight, made themselves masters of the field of battle. The said Ethelbert reigned five years, and his body lies at Sherborn.
A.D. 861. This year died St. Swithun, bishop.
A.D. 865. This year sat the heathen army in the isle of Thanet, and made peace with the men of Kent, who promised money therewith; but under the security of peace, and the promise of money, the army in the night stole up the country, and overran all Kent eastward.
A.D. 866. This year Ethered, (35) brother of Ethelbert, took to the West-Saxon government; and the same year came a large heathen army into England, and fixed their winter-quarters in East-Anglia, where they were soon horsed; and the inhabitants made peace with them.
A.D. 867. This year the army went from the East-Angles over the mouth of the Humber to the Northumbrians, as far as York. And there was much dissension in that nation among themselves; they had deposed their king Osbert, and had admitted Aella, who had no natural claim. Late in the year, however, they returned to their allegiance, and they were now fighting against the common enemy; having collected a vast force, with which they fought the army at York; and breaking open the town, some of them entered in. Then was there an immense slaughter of the Northumbrians, some within and some without; and both the kings were slain on the spot. The survivors made peace with the army. The same year died Bishop Ealstan, who had the bishopric of Sherborn fifty winters, and his body lies in the town.
A.D. 868. This year the same army went into Mercia to Nottingham, and there fixed their winter-quarters; and Burhred, king of the Mercians, with his council, besought Ethered, king of the West-Saxons, and Alfred, his brother; that they would assist them in fighting against the army. And they went with the West-Saxon army into Mercia as far as Nottingham, and there meeting the army on the works, they beset them within. But there was no heavy fight; for the Mercians made peace with the army.
A.D. 869. This year the army went back to York, and sat there a year.
A.D. 870. This year the army rode over Mercia into East-Anglia, and there fixed their winter-quarters at Thetford. And in the winter King Edmund fought with them; but the Danes gained the victory, and slew the king; whereupon they overran all that land, and destroyed all the monasteries to which they came. The names of the leaders who slew the king were Hingwar and Hubba. At the same time came they to Medhamsted, burning and breaking, and slaying abbot and monks, and all that they there found. They made such havoc there, that a monastery, which was before full rich, was now reduced to nothing. The same year died Archbishop Ceolnoth; and Ethered, Bishop of Witshire, was chosen Archbishop of Canterbury.
A.D. 871. This year came the army to Reading in Wessex; and in the course of three nights after rode two earls up, who were met by Alderman Ethelwulf at Englefield; where he fought with them, and obtained the victory. There one of them was slain, whose name was Sidrac. About four nights after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother led their main army to Reading, where they fought with the enemy; and there was much slaughter on either hand, Alderman Ethelwulf being among the skain; but the Danes kept possession of the field. And about four nights after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with all the army on Ashdown, and the Danes were overcome. They had two heathen kings, Bagsac and Healfden, and many earls; and they were in two divisions; in one of which were Bagsac and Healfden, the heathen kings, and in the other were the earls. King Ethered therefore fought with the troops of the kings, and there was King Bagsac slain; and Alfred his brother fought with the troops of the earls, and there were slain Earl Sidrac the elder, Earl Sidrac the younger, Earl Osbern, Earl Frene, and Earl Harold. They put both the troops to flight; there were many thousands of the slain, and they continued fighting till night. Within a fortnight of this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with the army at Basing; and there the Danes had the victory. About two months after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with the army at Marden. They were in two divisions; and they put them both to flight, enjoying the victory for some time during the day; and there was much slaughter on either hand; but the Danes became masters of the field; and there was slain Bishop Heahmund, with many other good men. After this fight came a vast army in the summer to Reading. And after the Easter of this year died King Ethered. He reigned five years, and his body lies at Winburn-minster. Then Alfred, his brother, the son of Ethelwulf, took to the kingdom of Wessex. And within a month of this, King Alfred fought against all the Army with a small force at Wilton, and long pursued them during the day; but the Danes got possession of the field. This year were nine general battles fought with the army in the kingdom south of the Thames; besides those skirmishes, in which Alfred the king's brother, and every single alderman, and the thanes of the king, oft rode against them; which were accounted nothing. This year also were slain nine earls, and one king; and the same year the West-Saxons made peace with the army.
((A.D. 871. And the Danish-men were overcome; and they had two heathen kings, Bagsac and Halfdene, and many earls; and there was King Bagsac slain, and these earls; Sidrac the elder, and also Sidrac the younger, Osbern, Frene, and Harold; and the army was put to flight.))
A.D. 872. This year went the army to London from Reading, and there chose their winter-quarters. Then the Mercians made peace with the army.
A.D. 873. This year went the army against the Northumbrians, and fixed their winter-quarters at Torksey in Lindsey. And the Mercians again made peace with the army.
A.D. 874. This year went the army from Lindsey to Repton, and there took up their winter-quarters, drove the king, Burhred, over sea, when he had reigned about two and twenty winters, and subdued all that land. He then went to Rome, and there remained to the end of his life. And his body lies in the church of Sancta Maria, in the school of the English nation. And the same year they gave Ceolwulf, an unwise king's thane, the Mercian kingdom to hold; and he swore oaths to them, and gave hostages, that it should be ready for them on whatever day they would have it; and he would be ready with himself, and with all those that would remain with him, at the service of the army.
A.D. 875. This year went the army from Repton; and Healfden advanced with some of the army against the Northumbrians, and fixed his winter-quarters by the river Tine. The army then subdued that land, and oft invaded the Picts and the Strathclydwallians. Meanwhile the three kings, Guthrum, Oskytel, and Anwind, went from Repton to Cambridge with a vast army, and sat there one year. This summer King Alfred went out to sea with an armed fleet, and fought with seven ship-rovers, one of whom he took, and dispersed the others.
A.D. 876. This year Rolla penetrated Normandy with his army; and he reigned fifty winters. And this year the army stole into Wareham, a fort of the West-Saxons. The king afterwards made peace with them; and they gave him as hostages those who were worthiest in the army; and swore with oaths on the holy bracelet, which they would not before to any nation, that they would readily go out of his kingdom. Then, under colour of this, their cavalry stole by night into Exeter. The same year Healfden divided the land of the Northumbrians; so that they became afterwards their harrowers and plowers.
((A.D. 876. And in this same year the army of the Danes in England swore oaths to King Alfred upon the holy ring, which before they would not do to any nation; and they delivered to the king hostages from among the most distinguished men of the army, that they would speedily depart from his kingdom; and that by night they broke.))
A.D. 877. This year came the Danish army into Exeter from Wareham; whilst the navy sailed west about, until they met with a great mist at sea, and there perished one hundred and twenty ships at Swanwich. (36) Meanwhile King Alfred with his army rode after the cavalry as far as Exeter; but he could not overtake them before their arrival in the fortress, where they could not be come at. There they gave him as many hostages as he required, swearing with solemn oaths to observe the strictest amity. In the harvest the army entered Mercia; some of which they divided among them, and some they gave to Ceolwulf.
A.D. 878. This year about mid-winter, after twelfth-night, the Danish army stole out to Chippenham, and rode over the land of the West-Saxons; where they settled, and drove many of the people over sea; and of the rest the greatest part they rode down, and subdued to their will;—ALL BUT ALFRED THE KING. He, with a little band, uneasily sought the woods and fastnesses of the moors. And in the winter of this same year the brother of Ingwar and Healfden landed in Wessex, in Devonshire, with three and twenty ships, and there was he slain, and eight hundred men with him, and forty of his army. There also was taken the war-flag, which they called the RAVEN. In the Easter of this year King Alfred with his little force raised a work at Athelney; from which he assailed the army, assisted by that part of Somersetshire which was nighest to it. Then, in the seventh week after Easter, he rode to Brixton by the eastern side of Selwood; and there came out to meet him all the people of Somersersetshire, and Wiltshire, and that part of Hampshire which is on this side of the sea; and they rejoiced to see him. Then within one night he went from this retreat to Hey; and within one night after he proceeded to Heddington; and there fought with all the army, and put them to flight, riding after them as far as the fortress, where he remained a fortnight. Then the army gave him hostages with many oaths, that they would go out of his kingdom. They told him also, that their king would receive baptism. And they acted accordingly; for in the course of three weeks after, King Guthrum, attended by some thirty of the worthiest men that were in the army, came to him at Aller, which is near Athelney, and there the king became his sponsor in baptism; and his crisom-leasing was at Wedmor. He was there twelve nights with the king, who honoured him and his attendants with many presents.
A.D. 879. This year went the army from Chippenham to Cirencester, and sat there a year. The same year assembled a band of pirates, and sat at Fulham by the Thames. The same year also the sun was eclipsed one hour of the day.
A.D. 880. This year went the army from Cirencester into
East-Anglia, where they settled, and divided the land. The same year
went the army over sea, that before sat at Fulham, to Ghent in
Frankland, and sat there a year.
A.D. 881. This year went the army higher up into Frankland, and the Franks fought with them; and there was the army horsed after the battle.
A.D. 882. This year went the army up along the Maese far into Frankland, and there sat a year; and the same year went King Alfred out to sea with a fleet; and fought with four ship-rovers of the Danes, and took two of their ships; wherein all the men were slain; and the other two surrendered; but the men were severely cut and wounded ere they surrendered.
A.D. 883. This year went the army up the Scheldt to Conde, and there sat a year. And Pope Marinus sent King Alfred the "lignum Domini". The same year led Sighelm and Athelstan to Rome the alms which King Alfred ordered thither, and also in India to St. Thomas and to St. Bartholomew. Then they sat against the army at London; and there, with the favour of God, they were very successful after the performance of their vows.
A.D. 884. This year went the army up the Somne to Amiens, and there remained a year. This year died the benevolent Bishop Athelwold.
A.D. 885. This year separated the before-mentioned army in two; one part east, another to Rochester. This city they surrounded, and wrought another fortress around themselves. The people, however, defended the city, until King Alfred came out with his army. Then went the enemy to their ships, and forsook their work. There were they provided with horses; and soon after, in the same summer, they went over sea again. The same year sent King Alfred a fleet from Kent into East-Anglia. As soon as they came to Stourmouth, there met them sixteen ships of the pirates. And they fought with them, took all the ships, and slew the men. As they returned homeward with their booty, they met a large fleet of the pirates, and fought with them the same day; but the Danes had the victory. The same year, ere midwinter, died Charles, king of the Franks. He was slain by a boar; and one year before his brother died, who had also the Western kingdom. They were both the sons of Louis, who also had the Western kingdom, and died the same year that the sun was eclipsed. He was the son of that Charles whose daughter Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, had to wife. And the same year collected a great fleet against Old-Saxony; and there was a great fight twice in the year, and the Saxons had the victory. There were the Frieslanders with them. And the same year succeeded Charles to the Western kingdom, and to all the territory this side of the Mediterranean and beyond, as his great-grandfather held it, except the Lidwiccians. The said Charles was the son of Louis, who was the brother of that Charles who was the father of Judith, whom Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, married. They were the sons of Louis, who was the son of the elder Charles, who was the son of Pepin. The same year died the good Pope Martin, who freed the English school at the request of Alfred, king of the West-Saxons. And he sent him great gifts in relics, and a part of the rood on which Christ suffered. And the same year the army in East-Anglia brake the truce with King Alfred.
A.D. 886. This year went the army back again to the west, that before were bent eastward; and proceeding upwards along the Seine, fixed their winter-quarters in the city of Paris. (37) The same year also King Alfred fortified the city of London; and the whole English nation turned to him, except that part of it which was held captive by the Danes. He then committed the city to the care of Alderman Ethered, to hold it under him.
A.D. 887. This year the army advanced beyond the bridge at Paris; (38) and then upwards, along the Seine, to the Marne. Then upwards on the Marne as far as Chezy; and in their two stations, there and on the Yonne, they abode two winters. This same year died Charles, king of the Franks. Arnulf, his brother's son, had six weeks before his death bereft him of his kingdom; which was now divided into five portions, and five kings were consecrated thereto. This, however, was done with the consent of Arnulf; and they agreed that they should hold in subjection to him; because none of them had by birth any claim on the father's side, except him alone. Arnulf, therefore, dwelt in the country eastward of the Rhine; Rodulf took to the middle district; Oda to the western; whilst Berenger and Witha became masters of Lombardy and the Cisalpine territory. But they held their dominion in great discord; fought two general battles, and frequently overran the country in partial encounters, displacing each other several times. The same year also, in which the Danish army advanced beyond the bridge at Paris, Alderman Ethelhelm led the alms of the West-Saxons and of King Alfred to Rome.
A.D. 888. This year Alderman Beeke conducted the alms of the West-Saxons and of King Alfred to Rome; but Queen Ethelswith, who was the sister of King Alfred, died on the way to Rome; and her body lies at Pavia. The same year also Ethered, Archbishop of Canterbury and Alderman Ethelwold, died in one month.
A.D. 889. This year there was no journey to Rome; except that
King Alfred sent two messengers with letters.
A.D. 890. This year Abbot Bernhelm conducted the alms of the West-Saxons and of King Alfred to Rome; and Guthrum, king of the Northern men, departed this life, whose baptismal name was Athelstan. He was the godson of King Alfred; and he abode among the East-Angles, where he first established a settlement. The same year also went the army from the Seine to Saint Lo, which is between the Bretons and the Franks; where the Bretons fought with them, obtained the victory, and drove them out into a river, in which many of them were drowned. This year also was Plegmund chosen by God and all his saints to the archbishopric in Canterbury.
A.D. 891. This year went the army eastward; and King Arnulf fought with the land-force, ere the ships arrived, in conjunction with the eastern Franks, and Saxons, and Bavarians, and put them to flight. And three Scots came to King Alfred in a boat without any oars from Ireland; whence they stole away, because they would live in a state of pilgrimage, for the love of God, they recked not where. The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half; and they took with them provisions for seven nights; and within seven nights they came to land in Cornwall, and soon after went to King Alfred. They were thus named: Dubslane, and Macbeth, and Maelinmun. And Swinney, the best teacher that was among the Scots, departed this life. And the same year after Easter, about the gang-days or before, appeared the star that men in book-Latin call "cometa": some men say that in English it may be termed "hairy star"; for that there standeth off from it a long gleam of light, whilom on one side, whilom on each.
A.D. 893. This year went the large army, that we before spoke about, back from the eastern district westward to Bologne; and there were shipped; so that they transported themselves over at one time with their horses withal. And they came up with two hundred and fifty ships into the mouth of the Limne, which is in East-Kent, at the east end of the vast wood that we call Andred. This wood is in length, east and west, one hundred and twenty miles, or longer, and thirty miles broad. The river that we before spoke about lieth out of the weald. On this river they towed up their ships as far as the weald, four miles from the mouth outwards; and there destroyed a fort within the fen, whereon sat a few churls, and which was hastily wrought. Soon after this came Hasten up with eighty ships into the mouth of the Thames, and wrought him there a work at Milton, and the other army at Appledore.
A.D. 894. This year, that was about twelve months after they had wrought a work in the eastern district, the Northumbrians and East-Angles had given oaths to King Alfred, and the East-Angles six hostages; nevertheless, contrary to the truce, as oft as the other plunderers went out with all their army, then went they also, either with them, or in a separate division. Upon this King Alfred gathered his army, and advanced, so that he encamped between the two armies at the highest point he could find defended by wood and by water, that he might reach either, if they would seek any field. Then went they forth in quest of the wealds, in troops and companies, wheresoever the country was defenceless. But they were also sought after most days by other companies, either by day or by night, both from the army and also from the towns. The king had divided his army into two parts; so that they were always half at home, half out; besides the men that should maintain the towns. The army came not all out of their stations more than twice; once, when they first came to land, ere the forces were collected, and again, when they wished to depart from their stations. They had now seized much booty, and would ferry it northward over Thames into Essex, to meet their ships. But the army rode before them, fought with them at Farnham, routed their forces, and there arrested the booty. And they flew over Thames without any ford, then up by the Colne on an island. Then the king's forces beset them without as long as they had food; but they had their time set, and their meat noted. And the king was advancing thitherwards on his march with the division that accompanied him. But while he was advancing thitherwards, the other force was returning homewards. The Danes, however, still remained behind; for their king was wounded in the fight, so that they could not carry him. Then collected together those that dwell in Northumbria and East-Anglia about a hundred ships, and went south about; and with some forty more went north about, and besieged a fort in Devonshire by the north sea; and those who went south about beset Exeter. When the king heard that, then went he west towards Exeter with all his force, except a very considerable part of the eastern army, who advanced till they came to London; and there being joined by the citizens and the reinforcements that came from the west, they went east to Barnfleet. Hasten was there with his gang, who before were stationed at Milton, and also the main army had come thither, that sat before in the mouth of the Limne at Appledore. Hasten had formerly constructed that work at Barnfleet, and was then gone out on plunder, the main army being at home. Then came the king's troops, and routed the enemy, broke down the work, took all that was therein money, women, and children and brought all to London. And all the ships they either broke to pieces, or burned, or brought to London or to Rochester. And Hasten's wife and her two sons they brought to the king, who returned them to him, because one of them was his godson, and the other Alderman Ethered's. They had adopted them ere Hasten came to Bamfleet; when he had given them hostages and oaths, and the king had also given him many presents; as he did also then, when he returned the child and the wife. And as soon as they came to Bamfleet, and the work was built, then plundered he in the same quarter of his kingdom that Ethered his compeer should have held; and at another time he was plundering in the same district when his work was destroyed. The king then went westward with the army toward Exeter, as I before said, and the army had beset the city; but whilst he was gone they went to their ships. Whilst he was thus busied there with the army, in the west, the marauding parties were both gathered together at Shobury in Essex, and there built a fortress. Then they both went together up by the Thames, and a great concourse joined them, both from the East-Angles and from the Northumbrians. They then advanced upward by the Thames, till they arrived near the Severn. Then they proceeded upward by the Severn. Meanwhile assembled Alderman Ethered, Alderman Ethelm, Alderman Ethelnoth, and the king's thanes, who were employed at home at the works, from every town east of the Parret, as well as west of Selwood, and from the parts east and also north of the Thames and west of the Severn, and also some part of North-Wales. When they were all collected together, they overtook the rear of the enemy at Buttington on the banks of the Severn, and there beset them without on each side in a fortress. When they had sat there many weeks on both sides of the water, and the king meanwhile was in Devonshire westward with the naval force, then were the enemy weighed down with famine. They had devoured the greater part of their horses; and the rest had perished with hunger. Then went they out to the men that sat on the eastern side of the river, and fought with them; but the Christians had the victory. And there Ordhelm, the king's thane, was slain; and also many other king's thanes; and of the Danes there were many slain, and that part of them that came away escaped only by flight. As soon as they came into Essex to their fortress, and to their ships, then gathered the remnant again in East-Anglia and from the Northumbrians a great force before winter, and having committed their wives and their ships and their booty to the East-Angles, they marched on the stretch by day and night, till they arrived at a western city in Wirheal that is called Chester. There the army could not overtake them ere they arrived within the work: they beset the work though, without, some two days, took all the cattle that was thereabout, slew the men whom they could overtake without the work, and all the corn they either burned or consumed with their horses every evening. That was about a twelvemonth since they first came hither over sea.
A.D. 895. Soon after that, in this year, went the army from Wirheal into North-Wales; for they could not remain there, because they were stripped both of the cattle and the corn that they had acquired by plunder. When they went again out of North-Wales with the booty they had acquired there, they marched over Northumberland and East-Anglia, so that the king's army could not reach them till they came into Essex eastward, on an island that is out at sea, called Mersey. And as the army returned homeward that had beset Exeter, they went up plundering in Sussex nigh Chichester; but the townsmen put them to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, and took some of their ships. Then, in the same year, before winter, the Danes, who abode in Mersey, towed their ships up on the Thames, and thence up the Lea. That was about two years after that they came hither over sea.
A.D. 896. This same year wrought the aforesaid army a work by the Lea, twenty miles above the city of London. Then, in the summer of this year, went a large party of the citizens, and also of other folk, and made an attack on the work of the Danes; but they were there routed, and some four of the king's thanes were slain. In the harvest afterward the king encamped close to the city, whilst they reaped their corn, that the Danes might not deprive them of the crop. Then, some day, rode the king up by the river; and observed a place where the river might be obstructed, so that they could not bring out their ships. And they did so. They wrought two works on the two sides of the river. And when they had begun the work, and encamped before it, then understood the army that they could not bring out their ships. Whereupon they left them, and went over land, till they came to Quatbridge by Severn; and there wrought a work. Then rode the king's army westward after the enemy. And the men of London fetched the ships; and all that they could not lead away they broke up; but all that were worthy of capture they brought into the port of London. And the Danes procured an asylum for their wives among the East-Angles, ere they went out of the fort. During the winter they abode at Quatbridge. That was about three years since they came hither over sea into the mouth of the Limne.
A.D. 897. In the summer of this year went the army, some into East-Anglia, and some into Northumbria; and those that were penniless got themselves ships, and went south over sea to the Seine. The enemy had not, thank God, entirely destroyed the English nation; but they were much more weakened in these three years by the disease of cattle, and most of all of men; so that many of the mightiest of the king's thanes, that were in the land, died within the three years. Of these, one was Swithulf Bishop of Rochester, Ceolmund alderman in Kent, Bertulf alderman in Essex, Wulfred alderman in Hampshire, Elhard Bishop of Dorchester, Eadulf a king's thane in Sussex, Bernuff governor of Winchester, and Egulf the king's horse-thane; and many also with them; though I have named only the men of the highest rank. This same year the plunderers in East-Anglia and Northumbria greatly harassed the land of the West-Saxons by piracies on the southern coast, but most of all by the esks which they built many years before. Then King Alfred gave orders for building long ships against the esks, which were full-nigh twice as long as the others. Some had sixty oars, some more; and they were both swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others. They were not shaped either after the Frisian or the Danish model, but so as he himself thought that they might be most serviceable. Then, at a certain turn of this same year, came six of their ships to the Isle of Wight; and going into Devonshire, they did much mischief both there and everywhere on the seacoast. Then commanded the king his men to go out against them with nine of the new ships, and prevent their escape by the mouth of the river to the outer sea. Then came they out against them with three ships, and three others were standing upwards above the mouth on dry land: for the men were gone off upon shore. Of the first three ships they took two at the mouth outwards, and slew the men; the third veered off, but all the men were slain except five; and they too were severely wounded. Then came onward those who manned the other ships, which were also very uneasily situated. Three were stationed on that side of the deep where the Danish ships were aground, whilst the others were all on the opposite side; so that none of them could join the rest; for the water had ebbed many furlongs from them. Then went the Danes from their three ships to those other three that were on their side, be-ebbed; and there they then fought. There were slain Lucomon, the king's reve, and Wulfheard, a Frieslander; Ebb, a Frieslander, and Ethelere, a Frieslander; and Ethelferth, the king's neat-herd; and of all the men, Frieslanders and English, sixty-two; of the Danes a hundred and twenty. The tide, however, reached the Danish ships ere the Christians could shove theirs out; whereupon they rowed them out; but they were so crippled, that they could not row them beyond the coast of Sussex: there two of them the sea drove ashore; and the crew were led to Winchester to the king, who ordered them to be hanged. The men who escaped in the single ship came to East-Anglia, severely wounded. This same year were lost no less than twenty ships, and the men withal, on the southern coast. Wulfric, the king's horse-thane, who was also viceroy of Wales, died the same year.
A.D. 898. This year died Ethelm, alderman of Wiltshire, nine nights before midsummer; and Heahstan, who was Bishop of London.
A.D. 901. This year died ALFRED, the son of Ethelwulf, six nights before the mass of All Saints. He was king over all the English nation, except that part that was under the power of the Danes. He held the government one year and a half less than thirty winters; and then Edward his son took to the government. Then Prince Ethelwald, the son of his paternal uncle, rode against the towns of Winburn and of Twineham, without leave of the king and his council. Then rode the king with his army; so that he encamped the same night at Badbury near Winburn; and Ethelwald remained within the town with the men that were under him, and had all the gates shut upon him, saying, that he would either there live or there die. But in the meantime he stole away in the night, and sought the army in Northumberland. The king gave orders to ride after him; but they were not able to overtake him. The Danes, however, received him as their king. They then rode after the wife that Ethelwald had taken without the king's leave, and against the command of the bishops; for she was formerly consecrated a nun. In this year also died Ethered, who was alderman of Devonshire, four weeks before King Alfred.
A.D. 902. This year was the great fight at the Holme (39) between the men of Kent and the Danes.
((A.D. 902. This year Elswitha died.))
A.D. 903. This year died Alderman Ethelwulf, the brother of
Elhswitha, mother of King Edward; and Virgilius abbot of the
Scots; and Grimbald the mass-priest; on the eighth day of July.
This same year was consecrated the new minster at Winchester, on
St. Judoc's advent.
A.D. 904. This year came Ethelwald hither over sea with all the fleet that he could get, and he was submitted to in Essex. This year the moon was eclipsed.
A.D. 905. This year Ethelwald enticed the army in East-Anglia to rebellion; so that they overran all the land of Mercia, until they came to Cricklade, where they forded the Thames; and having seized, either in Bradon or thereabout, all that they could lay their hands upon, they went homeward again. King Edward went after, as soon as he could gather his army, and overran all their land between the foss and the Ouse quite to the fens northward. Then being desirous of returning thence, he issued an order through the whole army, that they should all go out at once. But the Kentish men remained behind, contrary to his order, though he had sent seven messengers to them. Whereupon the army surrounded them, and there they fought. There fell Aldermen Siwulf and Sigelm; Eadwold, the king's thane; Abbot Kenwulf; Sigebriht, the son of Siwulf; Eadwald, the son of Acca; and many also with them; though I have named the most considerable. On the Danish side were slain Eohric their king, and Prince Ethelwald, who had enticed them to the war. Byrtsige, the son of Prince Brihtnoth; Governor Ysop; Governor Oskytel; and very many also with them that we now cannot name. And there was on either hand much slaughter made; but of the Danes there were more slain, though they remained masters of the field. Ealswitha died this same year; and a comet appeared on the thirteenth day before the calends of November.
((A.D. 906. This year King Edward, from necessity, concluded a peace both with the army of East-Anglia and of North-humbria.))
A.D. 907. This year died Alfred, who was governor of Bath. The same year was concluded the peace at Hitchingford, as King Edward decreed, both with the Danes of East-Anglia, and those of Northumberland; and Chester was rebuilt.
A.D. 909. This year died Denulf, who was Bishop of Winchester; and the body of St. Oswald was translated from Bardney into Mercia.
A.D. 910. This year Frithestan took to the bishopric of Winchester; and Asser died soon after, who was Bishop of Sherborne. The same year King Edward sent an army both from Wessex and Mercia, which very much harassed the northern army by their attacks on men and property of every kind. They slew many of the Danes, and remained in the country five weeks. This year the Angles and the Danes fought at Tootenhall; and the Angles had the victory. The same year Ethelfleda built the fortress at Bramsbury.
((A.D. 910. This year the army of the Angles and of the Danes fought at Tootenhall. And Ethelred, ealdor of the Mercians, died; and King Edward took possession of London, and of Oxford, and of all the lands which owed obedience thereto. And a great fleet came hither from the south, from the Lidwiccas (Brittany), and greatly ravaged by the Severn; but they were, afterwards, almost all perished.))
A.D. 911. This year the army in Northumberland broke the truce, and despised every right that Edward and his son demanded of them; and plundered the land of the Mercians. The king had gathered together about a hundred ships, and was then in Kent while the ships were sailing along sea by the south-east to meet him. The army therefore supposed that the greatest part of his force was in the ships, and that they might go, without being attacked, where that ever they would. When the king learned on enquiry that they were gone out on plunder, he sent his army both from Wessex and Mercia; and they came up with the rear of the enemy as he was on his way homeward, and there fought with him and put him to flight, and slew many thousands of his men. There fell King Eowils, and King Healfden; Earls Ohter and Scurf; Governors Agmund, Othulf, and Benesing; Anlaf the Swarthy, and Governor Thunferth; Osferth the collector, and Governor Guthferth.
((A.D. 911. Then the next year after this died Ethelred, lord of the Mercians.))
A.D. 912. This year died Ethered, alderman of Mercia; and King Edward took to London, and to Oxford, and to all the lands that thereunto belonged. This year also came Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, on the holy eve called the invention of the holy cross, to Shergate, and built the fortress there, and the same year that at Bridgenorth.
A.D. 913. This year, about Martinmas, King Edward had the northern fortress built at Hertford, betwixt the Memer, and the Benwic, and the Lea. After this, in the summer, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with some of his force into Essex, to Maldon; and encamped there the while that men built and fortified the town of Witham. And many of the people submitted to him, who were before under the power of the Danes. And some of his force, meanwhile, built the fortress at Hertford on the south side of the Lea. This year by the permission of God went Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, with all the Mercians to Tamworth; and built the fort there in the fore-part of the summer; and before Lammas that at Stafford: in the next year that at Eddesbury, in the beginning of the summer; and the same year, late in the autumn, that at Warwick. Then in the following year was built, after mid-winter, that at Chirbury and that at Warburton; and the same year before mid-winter that at Runkorn.
((A.D. 915. This year was Warwick built.))
A.D. 916. This year was the innocent Abbot Egbert slain, before midsummer, on the sixteenth day before the calends of July. The same day was the feast of St. Ciricius the martyr, with his companions. And within three nights sent Ethelfleda an army into Wales, and stormed Brecknock; and there took the king's wife, with some four and thirty others.
A.D. 917. This year rode the army, after Easter, out of Northampton and Leicester; and having broken the truce they slew many men at Hookerton and thereabout. Then, very soon after this, as the others came home, they found other troops that were riding out against Leighton. But the inhabitants were aware of it; and having fought with them they put them into full flight; and arrested all that they had taken, and also of their horses and of their weapons a good deal.
A.D. 918. This year came a great naval armament over hither south from the Lidwiccians; (40) and two earls with it, Ohter and Rhoald. They went then west about, till they entered the mouth of the Severn; and plundered in North-Wales everywhere by the sea, where it then suited them; and took Camlac the bishop in Archenfield, and led him with them to their ships; whom King Edward afterwards released for forty pounds. After this went the army all up; and would proceed yet on plunder against Archenfield; but the men of Hertford met them, and of Glocester, and of the nighest towns; and fought with them, and put them to flight; and they slew the Earl Rhoald, and the brother of Ohter the other earl, and many of the army. And they drove them into a park; and beset them there without, until they gave them hostages, that they would depart from the realm of King Edward. And the king had contrived that a guard should be set against them on the south side of Severnmouth; west from Wales, eastward to the mouth of the Avon; so that they durst nowhere seek that land on that side. Nevertheless, they eluded them at night, by stealing up twice; at one time to the east of Watchet, and at another time at Porlock. There was a great slaughter each time; so that few of them came away, except those only who swam out to the ships. Then sat they outward on an island, called the Flat-holms; till they were very short of meat, and many men died of hunger, because they could not reach any meat. Thence went they to Dimmet, and then out to Ireland. This was in harvest. After this, in the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward to Buckingham with his army, and sat there four weeks, during which he built the two forts on either side of the water, ere he departed thence. And Earl Thurkytel sought him for his lord; and all the captains, and almost all the first men that belonged to Bedford; and also many of those that belonged to Northampton. This year Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, with the help of God, before Laminas, conquered the town called Derby, with all that thereto belonged; and there were also slain four of her thanes, that were most dear to her, within the gates.
((A.D. 918. But very shortly after they had become so, she died at Tamworth, twelve days before midsummer, the eighth year of her having rule and right lordship over the Mercians; and her body lies at Gloucester, within the east porch of St. Peter's church.))
A.D. 919. This year King Edward went with his army to Bedford, before Martinmas, and conquered the town; and almost all the burgesses, who obeyed him before, returned to him; and he sat there four weeks, and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the water, ere he departed thence.
((A.D. 919. This year also the daughter of Ethelred, lord of the Mercians, was deprived of all dominion over the Mercians, and carried into Wessex, three weeks before mid-winter; she was called Elfwina.))
A.D. 920. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward to Maldon; and repaired and fortified the town, ere he departed thence. And the same year went Earl Thurkytel over sea to Frankland with the men who would adhere to him, under the protection and assistance of King Edward. This year Ethelfleda got into her power, with God's assistance, in the early part of the year, without loss, the town of Leicester; and the greater part of the army that belonged thereto submitted to her. And the Yorkists had also promised and confirmed, some by agreement and some with oaths, that they would be in her interest. But very soon after they had done this, she departed, twelve nights before midsummer, at Tamworth, the eighth year that she was holding the government of the Mercians with right dominion; and her body lieth at Glocester, in the east porch of St. Peter's church. This year also was the daughter of Ethered, lord of the Mercians, deprived of all authority over the Mercians, and led into Wessex, three weeks before midwinter. Her name was Healfwina.
A.D. 921. This year, before Easter, King Edward ordered his men to go to the town of Towcester, and to rebuild it. Then again, after that, in the same year, during the gang-days, he ordered the town of Wigmore to be repaired. The same summer, betwixt Lammas and midsummer, the army broke their parole from Northampton and from Leicester; and went thence northward to Towcester, and fought against the town all day, and thought that they should break into it; but the people that were therein defended it, till more aid came to them; and the enemy then abandoned the town, and went away. Then again, very soon after this, they went out at night for plunder, and came upon men unaware, and seized not a little, both in men and cattle, betwixt Burnham-wood and Aylesbury. At the same time went the army from Huntington and East-Anglia, and constructed that work at Ternsford; which they inhabited and fortified; and abandoned the other at Huntingdon; and thought that they should thence oft with war and contention recover a good deal of this land. Thence they advanced till they came to Bedford; where the men who were within came out against them, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and slew a good number of them. Then again, after this, a great army yet collected itself from East-Anglia and from Mercia, and went to the town of Wigmore; which they besieged without, and fought against long in the day; and took the cattle about it; but the men defended the town, who were within; and the enemy left the town, and went away. After this, the same summer, a large force collected itself in King Edward's dominions, from the nighest towns that could go thither, and went to Temsford; and they beset the town, and fought thereon; until they broke into it, and slew the king, and Earl Toglos, and Earl Mann his son, and his brother, and all them that were therein, and who were resolved to defend it; and they took the others, and all that was therein. After this, a great force collected soon in harvest, from Kent, from Surrey, from Essex, and everywhere from the nighest towns; and went to Colchester, and beset the town, and fought thereon till they took it, and slew all the people, and seized all that was therein; except those men who escaped therefrom over the wall. After this again, this same harvest, a great army collected itself from East-Anglia, both of the land-forces and of the pirates, which they had enticed to their assistance, and thought that they should wreak their vengeance. They went to Maldon, and beset the town, and fought thereon, until more aid came to the townsmen from without to help. The enemy then abandoned the town, and went from it. And the men went after, out of the town, and also those that came from without to their aid; and put the army to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, both of the pirates and of the others. Soon after this, the same harvest, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Passham; and sat there the while that men fortified the town of Towcester with a stone wall. And there returned to him Earl Thurferth, and the captains, and all the army that belonged to Northampton northward to the Welland, and sought him for their lord and protector. When this division of the army went home, then went another out, and marched to the town of Huntingdon; and repaired and renewed it, where it was broken down before, by command of King Edward. And all the people of the country that were left submitted to King Edward, and sought his peace and protection. After this, the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Colchester; and repaired and renewed the town, where it was broken down before. And much people turned to him, both in East-Anglia and in Essex, that were before under the power of the Danes. And all the army in East-Anglia swore union with him; that they would all that he would, and would protect all that he protected, either by sea or land. And the army that belonged to Cambridge chose him separately for their lord and protector, and confirmed the same with oaths, as he had advised. This year King Edward repaired the town of Gladmouth; and the same year King Sihtric slew Neil his brother.
A.D. 922. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with his army to Stamford, and ordered the town to be fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought him for their lord. It was whilst he was tarrying there, that Ethelfleda his sister died at Tamworth, twelve nights before midsummer. Then rode he to the borough of Tamworth; and all the population in Mercia turned to him, who before were subject to Ethelfleda. And the kings in North-Wales, Howel, and Cledauc, and Jothwel, and all the people of North-Wales, sought him for their lord. Then went he thence to Nottingham, and secured that borough, and ordered it to be repaired, and manned both with English and with Danes. And all the population turned to him, that was settled in Mercia, both Danish and English.
A.D. 923. This year went King Edward with an army, late in the harvest, to Thelwall; and ordered the borough to be repaired, and inhabited, and manned. And he ordered another army also from the population of Mercia, the while he sat there to go to Manchester in Northumbria, to repair and to man it. This year died Archbishop Plegmund; and King Reynold won York.
A.D. 924. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over the Trent betwixt the two towns. Thence he went to Bakewell in Peakland; and ordered a fort to be built as near as possible to it, and manned. And the King of Scotland, with all his people, chose him as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the Strathclydwallians, and all his people.
((A.D. 924. This year Edward was chosen for father and for lord by the king of the Scots, and by the Scots, and King Reginald, and by all the North-humbrians, and also the king of the Strath-clyde Britons, and by all the Strath-clyde Britons.))
((A.D. 924. This year King Edward died among the Mercians at Farndon; and very shortly, about sixteen days after this, Elward his son died at Oxford; and their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king by the Mercians, and consecrated at Kingston. And he gave his sister to Ofsae (Otho), son of the king of the Old-Saxons.))
A.D. 925. This year died King Edward at Farndon in Mercia; and
Elward his son died very soon after this, in Oxford. Their
bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king in
Mercia, and consecrated at Kingston. He gave his sister to Otho,
son of the king of the Old-Saxons. St. Dunstan was now born; and
Wulfhelm took to the archbishopric in Canterbury. This year King
Athelstan and Sihtric king of the Northumbrians came together at
Tamworth, the sixth day before the calends of February, and
Athelstan gave away his sister to him.
((A.D. 925. This year Bishop Wulfhelm was consecrated. And that same year King Edward died.))
A.D. 926. This year appeared fiery lights in the northern part of the firmament; and Sihtric departed; and King Athelstan took to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that were in this island:—First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Emmet, on the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.
A.D. 927. This year King Athelstan expelled King Guthfrith; and
Archbishop Wulfhelm went to Rome.
A.D. 928. William took to Normandy, and held it fifteen years.
((A.D. 931. This year died Frithstan, Bishop of Winchester, and
Brinstan was blessed in his place.))
A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester on the fourth day before the calends of June; and he held the bishopric two years and a half.
A.D. 933. This year died Bishop Frithestan; and Edwin the atheling was drowned in the sea.
A.D. 934. This year went King Athelstan into Scotland, both with a land-force and a naval armament, and laid waste a great part of it; and Bishop Burnstan died at Winchester at the feast of All Saints.
A.D. 935. This year Bishop Elfheah took to the bishopric of
((A.D. 937. This year King Athelstan and Edmund his brother led a force to Brumby, and there fought against Anlaf; and, Christ helping, had the victory: and they there slew five kings and seven earls.))
A.D. 938. Here Athelstan king, of earls the lord, rewarder of heroes, and his brother eke, Edmund atheling, elder of ancient race, slew in the fight, with the edge of their swords, the foe at Brumby! The sons of Edward their board-walls clove, and hewed their banners, with the wrecks of their hammers. So were they taught by kindred zeal, that they at camp oft 'gainst any robber their land should defend, their hoards and homes. Pursuing fell the Scottish clans; the men of the fleet in numbers fell; 'midst the din of the field the warrior swate. Since the sun was up in morning-tide, gigantic light! glad over grounds, God's candle bright, eternal Lord!— 'till the noble creature sat in the western main: there lay many of the Northern heroes under a shower of arrows, shot over shields; and Scotland's boast, a Scythian race, the mighty seed of Mars! With chosen troops, throughout the day, the West-Saxons fierce press'd on the loathed bands; hew'd down the fugitives, and scatter'd the rear, with strong mill-sharpen'd blades, The Mercians too the hard hand-play spared not to any of those that with Anlaf over the briny deep in the ship's bosom sought this land for the hardy fight. Five kings lay on the field of battle, in bloom of youth, pierced with swords. So seven eke of the earls of Anlaf; and of the ship's-crew unnumber'd crowds. There was dispersed the little band of hardy Scots, the dread of northern hordes; urged to the noisy deep by unrelenting fate! The king of the fleet with his slender craft escaped with his life on the felon flood;— and so too Constantine, the valiant chief, returned to the north in hasty flight. The hoary Hildrinc cared not to boast among his kindred. Here was his remnant of relations and friends slain with the sword in the crowded fight. His son too he left on the field of battle, mangled with wounds, young at the fight. The fair-hair'd youth had no reason to boast of the slaughtering strife. Nor old Inwood and Anlaf the more with the wrecks of their army could laugh and say, that they on the field of stern command better workmen were, in the conflict of banners, the clash of spears, the meeting of heroes, and the rustling of weapons, which they on the field of slaughter played with the sons of Edward. The northmen sail'd in their nailed ships, a dreary remnant, on the roaring sea; over deep water Dublin they sought, and Ireland's shores, in great disgrace. Such then the brothers both together king and atheling, sought their country, West-Saxon land, in right triumphant. They left behind them raw to devour, the sallow kite, the swarthy raven with horny nib, and the hoarse vultur, with the eagle swift to consume his prey; the greedy gos-hawk, and that grey beast the wolf of the weald. No slaughter yet was greater made e'er in this island, of people slain, before this same, with the edge of the sword; as the books inform us of the old historians; since hither came from the eastern shores the Angles and Saxons, over the broad sea, and Britain sought,— fierce battle-smiths, o'ercame the Welsh, most valiant earls, and gained the land.
A.D. 941. This year King Athelstan died in Glocester, on the sixth day before the calends of November, about forty-one winters, bating one night, from the time when King Alfred died. And Edmund Atheling took to the kingdom. He was then eighteen years old. King Athelstan reigned fourteen years and ten weeks. This year the Northumbrians abandoned their allegiance, and chose Anlaf of Ireland for their king.
((A.D. 941. This year King Edmund received King Anlaf at baptism; and that same year, a good long space after, he received King Reginald at the bishop's hands.))
A.D. 942. Here Edmund king, of Angles lord, protector of friends, author and framer of direful deeds. o'erran with speed the Mercian land. whete'er the course of Whitwell-spring, or Humber deep, The broad brim-stream, divides five towns. Leicester and Lincoln. Nottingham and Stamford, and Derby eke. In thraldom long to Norman Danes they bowed through need, and dragged the chains of heathen men; till, to his glory, great Edward's heir, Edmund the king, refuge of warriors, their fetters broke.
A.D. 943. This year Anlaf stormed Tamworth; and much slaughter was made on either hand; but the Danes had the victory, and led away with them much plunder. There was Wulfrun taken, in the spoiling of the town. This year King Edmund beset King Anlaf and Archbishop Wulfstan in Leicester; and he might have conquered them, were it not that they burst out of the town in the night. After this Anlaf obtained the friendship of King Edmund, and King Edmund then received King Anlaf in baptism; and he made him royal presents. And the same year, after some interval, he received King Reynold at episcopal hands. This year also died King Anlaf.
A.D. 944. This year King Edmund reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion, and expelled two kings, Anlaf the son of Sihtric, and Reynold the son of Guthferth.
A.D. 945. This year King Edmund overran all Cumberland; and let it all to Malcolm king of the Scots, on the condition that he became his ally, both by sea and land.
A.D. 946. This year King Edmund died, on St. Augustine's mass day. That was widely known, how he ended his days:—that Leof stabbed him at Pucklechurch. And Ethelfleda of Damerham, daughter of Alderman Elgar, was then his queen. And he reigned six years and a half: and then succeeded to the kingdom Edred Atheling his brother, who soon after reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion; and the Scots gave him oaths, that they would do all that he desired.
A.D. 947. This year came King Edred to Tadden's-cliff; and there Archbishop Wulfstan and all the council of the Northumbrians bound themselves to an allegiance with the king. And within a little space they abandoned all, both allegiance and oaths.
A.D. 948. This year King Edred overran all Northumberland; because they had taken Eric for their king; and in the pursuit of plunder was that large minster at Rippon set on fire, which St. Wilferth built. As the king returned homeward, he overtook the enemy at York; but his main army was behind at Chesterford. There was great slaughter made; and the king was so wroth, that he would fain return with his force, and lay waste the land withal; but when the council of the Northumbrians understood that, they then abandoned Eric, and compromised the deed with King Edred.
A.D. 949. This year came Anlaf Curran to the land of the
A.D. 951. This year died Elfeah, Bishop of Winchester, on St.
Gregory's mass day.
A.D. 952. This year the Northumbrians expelled King Anlaf, and received Eric the son of Harold. This year also King Edred ordered Archbishop Wulfstan to be brought into prison at Jedburgh; because he was oft bewrayed before the king: and the same year the king ordered a great slaughter to be made in the town of Thetford, in revenge of the abbot, whom they had formerly slain.
A.D. 954. This year the Northumbrians expelled Eric; and King
Edred took to the government of the Northumbrians. This year
also Archbishop Wulfstan received a bishopric again at
A.D. 955. This year died King Edred, on St. Clement's mass day, at Frome.(41) He reigned nine years and a half; and he rests in the old minster. Then succeeded Edwy, the son of King Edmund, to the government of the West-Saxons; and Edgar Atheling, his brother, succeeded to the government of the Mercians. They were the sons of King Edmund and of St. Elfgiva.
((A.D. 955. And Edwy succeeded to the kingdom of the
West-Saxons, and Edgar his brother succeeded to the kingdom of the
Mercians: and they were the sons of King Edmund and of S.
A.D. 956. This year died Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, on the seventeenth day before the calends of January; and he was buried at Oundle; and in the same year was Abbot Dunstan driven out of this land over sea.
A.D. 958. This year Archbishop Oda separated King Edwy and
Elfgiva; because they were too nearly related.
A.D. 959. This year died King Edwy, on the calends of October; and Edgar his brother took to the government of the West-Saxons, Mercians, and Northumbrians. He was then sixteen years old. It was in this year he sent after St. Dunstan, and gave him the bishopric of Worcester; and afterwards the bishopric of London. In his days it prosper'd well; and God him gave, that he dwelt in peace the while that he lived. Whate'er he did, whate'er he plan'd, he earn'd his thrift. He also rear'd God's glory wide, and God's law lov'd, with peace to man, above the kings that went before in man's remembrance. God so him sped, that kings and earls to all his claims submissive bow'd; and to his will without a blow he wielded all as pleased himself. Esteem'd he was both far and wide in distant lands; because he prized the name of God, and God's law traced, God's glory rear'd, both far and wide, on every side. Wisely he sought in council oft his people's good, before his God, before the world. One misdeed he did, too much however, that foreign tastes he loved too much; and heathen modes into this land he brought too fast; outlandish men hither enticed; and to this earth attracted crowds of vicious men. But God him grant, that his good deeds be weightier far than his misdeeds, to his soul's redemption on the judgment-day.
A.D. 961. This year departed Odo, the good archbishop, and St. Dunstan took to the archbishopric. This year also died Elfgar, a relative of the king, in Devonshire; and his body lies at Wilton: and King Sifferth killed himself; and his body lies at Wimborn. This year there was a very great pestilence; when the great fever was in London; and St. Paul's minster was consumed with fire, and in the same year was afterwards restored. In this year Athelmod. the masspriest, went to Rome, and there died on the eighteenth before the calends of September.
A.D. 963. This year died Wulfstan, the deacon, on Childermass-day; (42) and afterwards died Gyric, the mass-priest. In the same year took Abbot Athelwold to the bishopric of Winchester; and he was consecrated on the vigil of St. Andrew, which happened on a Sunday. On the second year after he was consecrated, he made many minsters; and drove out the clerks (43) from the bishopric, because they would hold no rule, and set monks therein. He made there two abbacies; one of monks, another of nuns. That was all within Winchester. Then came he afterwards to King Edgar, and requested that he would give him all the minsters that heathen men had before destroyed; for that he would renew them. This the king cheerfully granted; and the bishop came then first to Ely, where St. Etheldritha lies, and ordered the minster to be repaired; which he gave to a monk of his, whose name was Britnoth, whom he consecrated abbot: and there he set monks to serve God, where formerly were nuns. He then bought many villages of the king, and made it very rich. Afterwards came Bishop Athelwold to the minster called Medhamsted, which was formerly ruined by heathen folk; but he found there nothing but old walls, and wild woods. In the old walls at length he found hid writings which Abbot Hedda had formerly written;—how King Wulfhere and Ethelred his brother had wrought it, and how they freed it against king and against bishop, and against all worldly service; and how Pope Agatho confirmed it with his writ, as also Archbishop Deusdedit. He then ordered the minster to be rebuilt; and set there an abbot, who was called Aldulf; and made monks, where before was nothing. He then came to the king, and let him look at the writings which before were found; and the king then answered and said: "I Edgar grant and give to-day, before God and before Archbishop Dunstan, freedom to St. Peter's minster at Medhamsted, from king and from bishop; and all the thorps that thereto lie; that is, Eastfield, and Dodthorp, and Eye, and Paston. And so I free it, that no bishop have any jurisdiction there, but the abbot of the minster alone. And I give the town called Oundle, with all that thereto lieth, called Eyot-hundred, with market and toll; so freely, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor sheriff, have there any jurisdiction; nor any man but the abbot alone, and whom he may set thereto. And I give to Christ and St. Peter, and that too with the advice of Bishop Athelwold, these lands;—that is, Barrow, Warmington, Ashton, Kettering, Castor, Eylesworth, Walton, Witherington, Eye, Thorp, and a minster at Stamford. These lands and al the others that belong to the minster I bequeath clear; that is, with sack and sock, toll and team, and infangthief; these privileges and all others bequeath I clear to Christ and St. Peter. And I give the two parts of Whittlesey-mere, with waters and with wears and fens; and so through Meerlade along to the water that is called Nen; and so eastward to Kingsdelf. And I will that there be a market in the town itself, and that no other be betwixt Stamford and Huntingdon. And I will that thus be given the toll;—first, from Whittlesey-mere to the king's toll of Norman-cross hundred; then backward again from Whittlesey-mere through Meerlade along to the Nen, and as that river runs to Crowland; and from Crowland to Must, and from Must to Kingsdelf and to Whittlesey-mere. And I will that all the freedom, and all the privileges, that my predecessors gave, should remain; and I write and confirm this with the rood-token of Christ." (+)—Then answered Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and said: "I grant, that all the things that here are given and spoken, and all the things that thy predecessors and mine have given, shall remain firm; and whosoever breaketh it, then give I him God's curse, and that of all saints, and of all hooded heads, and mine, unless he come to repentance. And I give expressly to St. Peter my mass-hackle, and my stole, and my reef, to serve Christ." "I Oswald, Archbishop of York, confirm all these words through the holy rood on which Christ was crucified." (+) "I Bishop Athelwold bless all that maintain this, and I excommunicate all that break it, unless they come to repentance."—Here was Bishop Ellstan, Bishop Athulf, and Abbot Eskwy, and Abbot Osgar, and Abbot Ethelgar, and Alderman Elfere; Alderman Ethelwin, Britnoth and Oslac aldermen, and many other rich men; and all confirmed it and subscribed it with the cross of Christ. (+) This was done in the year after our Lord's Nativity 972, the sixteenth year of this king. Then bought the Abbot Aldulf lands rich and many, and much endowed the minster withal; and was there until Oswald, Archbishop of York, was dead; and then he was chosen to be archbishop. Soon after another abbot was chosen of the same monastery, whose name was Kenulf, who was afterwards Bishop of Winchester. He first made the wall about the minster, and gave it then the name of Peterborough, which before was Medhamsted. He was there till he was appointed Bishop of Winchester, when another abbot was chosen of the same monastery, whose name was Elfsy, who continued abbot fifty winters afterwards. It was he who took up St. Kyneburga and St. Kyneswitha, that lay at Castor, and St. Tibba, that lay at Ryhall; and brought them to Peterborough, and offered them all to St. Peter in one day, and preserved them all the while he was there.
((A.D. 963. This year, by King Edgar, St. Ethelwold was chosen
to the bishoprick at Winchester. And the Archbishop of
Canterbury, St. Dunstan, consecrated him bishop on the first
Sunday of Advent; that was on the third before the kalends of
A.D. 964. This year drove King Edgar the priests of Winchester out of the old minster, and also out of the new minster; and from Chertsey; and from Milton; and replaced them with monks. And he appointed Ethelgar abbot to the new minster, and Ordbert to Chertsey, and Cyneward to Milton.
((A.D. 964. This year were the canons driven out of the
Old-minster by King Edgar, and also from the New-minster, and from
Chertsey and from Milton; and he appointed thereto monks and
abbots: to the New-minster Ethelgar, to Chertsey Ordbert, to
A.D. 965. This year King Edgar took Elfrida for his queen, who was daughter of Alderman Ordgar.
A.D. 966. This year Thored, the son of Gunner, plundered
Westmorland; and the same year Oslac took to the aldermanship.
A.D. 969. This year King Edgar ordered all Thanet-land to be plundered.
A.D. 970. This year died Archbishop Oskytel; who was first consecrated diocesan bishop at Dorchester, and afterwards it was by the consent of King Edred and all his council that he was consecrated Archbishop of York. He was bishop two and twenty winters; and he died on Alhallow-mas night, ten nights before Martinmas, at Thame. Abbot Thurkytel, his relative, carried the bishop's body to Bedford, because he was the abbot there at that time.
A.D. 971. This year died Edmund Atheling, and his body lies at
((A.D. 972. This year Edgar the etheling was consecrated king at Bath, on Pentecost's mass-day, on the fifth before the ides of May, the thirteenth year since he had obtained the kingdom; and he was then one less than thirty years of age. And soon after that, the king led all his ship-forces to Chester; and there came to meet him six kings, and they all plighted their troth to him, that they would be his fellow-workers by sea and by land.))
A.D. 973. Here was Edgar, of Angles lord, with courtly pomp hallow'd to king at Akemancester, the ancient city; whose modern sons, dwelling therein, have named her BATH. Much bliss was there by all enjoyed on that happy day, named Pentecost by men below. A crowd of priests, a throng of monks, I understand, in counsel sage, were gather'd there. Then were agone ten hundred winters of number'd years from the birth of Christ, the lofty king, guardian of light, save that thereto there yet was left of winter-tale, as writings say, seven and twenty. So near had run of the lord of triumphs a thousand years, when this was done. Nine and twenty hard winters there of irksome deeds had Edmund's son seen in the world, when this took place, and on the thirtieth was hallow'd king. (43) Soon after this the king led all his marine force to Chester; and there came to meet him six kings; and they all covenanted with him, that they would be his allies by sea and by land.
A.D. 975. Here ended his earthly dreams Edgar, of Angles king; chose him other light, serene and lovely, spurning this frail abode, a life that mortals here call lean he quitted with disdain. July the month, by all agreed in this our land, whoever were in chronic lore correctly taught; the day the eighth, when Edgar young, rewarder of heroes, his life—his throne—resigned. Edward his son, unwaxen child, of earls the prince, succeeded then to England's throne. Of royal race ten nights before departed hence Cyneward the good— prelate of manners mild. Well known to me in Mercia then, how low on earth God's glory fell on every side: chaced from the land, his servants fled,— their wisdom scorned; much grief to him whose bosom glow'd with fervent love of great Creation's Lord! Neglected then the God of wonders, victor of victors, monarch of heaven,— his laws by man transgressed! Then too was driv'n Oslac beloved an exile far from his native land over the rolling waves,— over the ganet-bath, over the water-throng, the abode of the whale,— fair-hair'd hero, wise and eloquent, of home bereft! Then too was seen, high in the heavens, the star on his station, that far and wide wise men call— lovers of truth and heav'nly lore— "cometa" by name. Widely was spread God's vengeance then throughout the land, and famine scour'd the hills. May heaven's guardian, the glory of angels, avert these ills, and give us bliss again; that bliss to all abundance yields from earth's choice fruits, throughout this happy isle. (45)
((A.D. 975. The eighth before the ides of July. Here Edgar died, ruler of Angles, West-Saxons' joy, and Mercians' protector. Known was it widely throughout many nations. "Thaet" offspring of Edmund, o'er the ganet's-bath, honoured far, Kings him widely bowed to the king, as was his due by kind. No fleet was so daring, nor army so strong, that 'mid the English nation took from him aught, the while that the noble king ruled on his throne. And this year Edward, Edgar's son, succeeded to the kingdom; and then soon, in the same year, during harvest, appeared "cometa" the star; and then came in the following year a very great famine, and very manifold commotions among the English people. In his days, for his youth, God's gainsayers God's law broke; Eldfere, ealdorman, and others many; and rule monastic quashed, and minsters dissolved, and monks drove out, and God's servants put down, whom Edgar, king, ordered erewhile the holy bishop Ethelwold to stablish; and widows they plundered, many times and oft: and many unrighteousnesses, and evil unjust-deeds arose up afterwards: and ever after that it greatly grew in evil. And at that rime, also, was Oslac the great earl banished from England.))
A.D. 976. This year was the great famine in England.
A.D. 977. This year was that great council at Kirtlington, (46) after Easter; and there died Bishop Sideman a sudden death, on the eleventh day before the calends of May. He was Bishop of Devonshire; and he wished that his resting-place should be at Crediton, his episcopal residence; but King Edward and Archbishop Dunstan ordered men to carry him to St. Mary's minster that is at Abingdon. And they did so; and he is moreover honourably buried on the north side in St. Paul's porch.
A.D. 978. This year all the oldest counsellors of England fell at Calne from an upper floor; but the holy Archbishop Dunstan stood alone upon a beam. Some were dreadfully bruised: and some did not escape with life. This year was King Edward slain, at eventide, at Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth day before the calends of April. And he was buried at Wareham without any royal honour. No worse deed than this was ever done by the English nation since they first sought the land of Britain. Men murdered him but God has magnified him. He was in life an earthly king—he is now after death a heavenly saint. Him would not his earthly relatives avenge—but his heavenly father has avenged him amply. The earthly homicides would wipe out his memory from the earth—but the avenger above has spread his memory abroad in heaven and in earth. Those, Who would not before bow to his living body, now bow on their knees to His dead bones. Now we may conclude, that the wisdom of men, and their meditations, and their counsels, are as nought against the appointment of God. In this same year succeeded Ethelred Etheling, his brother, to the government; and he was afterwards very readily, and with great joy to the counsellors of England, consecrated king at Kingston. In the same year also died Alfwold, who was Bishop of Dorsetshire, and whose body lieth in the minster at Sherborn.
A.D. 979. In this year was Ethelred consecrated king, on the Sunday fortnight after Easter, at Kingston. And there were at his consecration two archbishops, and ten diocesan bishops. This same year was seen a bloody welkin oft-times in the likeness of fire; and that was most apparent at midnight, and so in misty beams was shown; but when it began to dawn, then it glided away.
((A.D. 979. This year was King Edward slain at even-tide, at
Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth before the kalends of April, and
then was he buried at Wareham, without any kind of kingly
There has not been 'mid Angles
a worse deed done
than this was,
since they first
Men him murdered,
but God him glorified.
He was in life
an earthly king;
he is now after death
a heavenly saint.
Him would not his earthly
but him hath his heavenly Father
The earthly murderers
would his memory
on earth blot out,
but the lofty Avenger
hath his memory
in the heavens
and on earth wide-spread.
They who would not erewhile
to his living
body bow down,
they now humbly
on knees bend
to his dead bones.
Now we may understand
that men's wisdom
and their devices,
and their councils,
are like nought
'gainst God's resolves.
This year Ethelred succeeded to the kingdom; and he was very
quickly after that, with much joy of the English witan,
consecrated king at Kingston.))
A.D. 980. In this year was Ethelgar consecrated bishop, on the sixth day before the nones of May, to the bishopric of Selsey; and in the same year was Southampton plundered by a pirate-army, and most of the population slain or imprisoned. And the same year was the Isle of Thanet overrun, and the county of Chester was plundered by the pirate-army of the North. In this year Alderman Alfere fetched the body of the holy King Edward at Wareham, and carried him with great solemnity to Shaftsbury.
A.D. 981. In this year was St. Petroc's-stow plundered; and in the same year was much harm done everywhere by the sea-coast, both upon Devonshire and Wales. And in the same year died Elfstan, Bishop of Wiltshire; and his body lieth in the minster at Abingdon; and Wulfgar then succeeded to the bishopric. The same year died Womare, Abbot of Ghent.
((A.D. 981. This year came first the seven ships, and ravaged
A.D. 982. In this year came up in Dorsetshire three ships of the pirates, and plundered in Portland. The same year London was burned. In the same year also died two aldermen, Ethelmer in Hampshire, and Edwin in Sussex. Ethelmer's body lieth in Winchester, at New-minster, and Edwin's in the minster at Abingdon. The same year died two abbesses in Dorsetshire; Herelufa at Shaftsbury, and Wulfwina at Wareham. The same year went Otho, emperor of the Romans, into Greece; and there met he a great army of the Saracens, who came up from the sea, and would have proceeded forthwith to plunder the Christian folk; but the emperor fought with them. And there was much slaughter made on either side, but the emperor gained the field of battle. He was there, however, much harassed, ere he returned thence; and as he went homeward, his brother's son died, who was also called Otho; and he was the son of Leodulf Atheling. This Leodulf was the son of Otho the Elder and of the daughter of King Edward.
A.D. 983. This year died Alderman Alfere, and Alfric succeeded to the same eldership; and Pope Benedict also died.
A.D. 984. This year died the benevolent Bishop of Winchester, Athelwold, father of monks; and the consecration of the following bishop, Elfheah, who by another name was called Godwin, was on the fourteenth day before the calends of November; and he took his seat on the episcopal bench on the mass-day of the two apostles Simon and Jude, at Winchester.
A.D. 985. This year was Alderman Alfric driven out of the land; and in the same year was Edwin consecrated abbot of the minster at Abingdon.
A.D. 986. This year the king invaded the bishopric of Rochester; and this year came first the great murrain of cattle in England.
A.D. 987. This year was the port of Watchet plundered.
A.D. 988. This year was Goda, the thane of Devonshire, slain; and a great number with him: and Dunstan, the holy archbishop, departed this life, and sought a heavenly one. Bishop Ethelgar succeeded him in the archbishopric; but he lived only a little while after, namely, one year and three months.
A.D. 989. This year died Abbot Edwin, and Abbot Wulfgar succeeded to the abbacy. Siric was this year invested archbishop, and went afterwards to Rome after his pall.
A.D. 991. This year was Ipswich plundered; and very soon afterwards was Alderman Britnoth (47) slain at Maidon. In this same year it was resolved that tribute should be given, for the first time, to the Danes, for the great terror they occasioned by the sea-coast. That was first 10,000 pounds. The first who advised this measure was Archbishop Siric.
A.D. 992. This year the blessed Archbishop Oswald departed this life, and sought a heavenly one; and in the same year died Alderman Ethelwin. Then the king and all his council resolved, that all the ships that were of any account should be gathered together at London; and the king committed the lead of the land-force to Alderman Elfric, and Earl Thorod, and Bishop Elfstan, and Bishop Escwy; that they should try if they could anywhere without entrap the enemy. Then sent Alderman Elfric, and gave warning to the enemy; and on the night preceding the day of battle he sculked away from the army, to his great disgrace. The enemy then escaped; except the crew of one ship, who were slain on the spot. Then met the enemy the ships from East-Anglia, and from London; and there a great slaughter was made, and they took the ship in which was the alderman, all armed and rigged. Then, after the death of Archbishop Oswald, succeeded Aldulf, Abbot of Peterborough, to the sees of York and of Worcester; and Kenulf to the abbacy of Peterborough.
((A.D. 992. This year Oswald the blessed archbishop died, and Abbot Eadulf succeeded to York and to Worcester. And this year the king and all his witan decreed that all the ships which were worth anything should be gathered together at London, in order that they might try if they could anywhere betrap the army from without. But Aelfric the ealdorman, one of those in whom the king had most confidence, directed the army to be warned; and in the night, as they should on the morrow have joined battle, the selfsame Aelfric fled from the forces; and then the army escaped.))
A.D. 993. This year came Anlaf with three and ninety ships to Staines, which he plundered without, and went thence to Sandwich. Thence to Ipswich, which he laid waste; and so to Maidon, where Alderman Britnoth came against him with his force, and fought with him; and there they slew the alderman, and gained the field of battle; whereupon peace was made with him, and the king received him afterwards at episcopal hands by the advice of Siric, Bishop of Canterbury, and Elfeah of Winchester. This year was Bamborough destroyed, and much spoil was there taken. Afterwards came the army to the mouth of the Humber; and there did much evil both in Lindsey and in Northumbria. Then was collected a great force; but when the armies were to engage, then the generals first commenced a flight; namely, Frene and Godwin and Frithgist. In this same year the king ordered Elfgar, son of Alderman Elfric, to be punished with blindness.
((A.D. 993. In this year came Olave with ninety-three ships to Staines, and ravaged there about, and then went thence to Sandwich, and so thence to Ipswich, and that all overran; and so to Maldon. And there Britnoth the ealdorman came against them with his forces, and fought against them: and they there slew the ealdorman, and had possession of the place of carnage. And after that peace was made with them; and him (Anlaf) the king afterwards received at the bishop's hands, through the instruction of Siric, bishop of the Kentish-men, and of Aelphege of Winchester.))
A.D. 994. This year died Archbishop Siric: and Elfric, Bishop of Wiltshire, was chosen on Easter-day, at Amesbury, by King Ethelred and all his council. This year came Anlaf and Sweyne to London, on the Nativity of St. Mary, with four and ninety-ships. And they closely besieged the city, and would fain have set it on fire; but they sustained more harm and evil than they ever supposed that any citizens could inflict on them. The holy mother of God on that day in her mercy considered the citizens, and ridded them of their enemies. Thence they advanced, and wrought the greatest evil that ever any army could do, in burning and plundering and manslaughter, not only on the sea-coast in Essex, but in Kent and in Sussex and in Hampshire. Next they took horse, and rode as wide as they would, and committed unspeakable evil. Then resolved the king and his council to send to them, and offer them tribute and provision, on condition that they desisted from plunder. The terms they accepted; and the whole army came to Southampton, and there fixed their winter-quarters; where they were fed by all the subjects of the West-Saxon kingdom. And they gave them 16,000 pounds in money. Then sent the king; after King Anlaf Bishop Elfeah and Alderman Ethelwerd; (48) and, hostages being left with the ships, they led Anlaf with great pomp to the king at Andover. And King Ethelred received him at episcopal hands, and honoured him with royal presents. In return Anlaf promised, as he also performed, that he never again would come in a hostile manner to England.
A.D. 995. This year appeared the comet-star.
A.D. 996. This year was Elfric consecrated archbishop at Christ church. (49)
A.D. 997. This year went the army about Devonshire into Severn-mouth, and equally plundered the people of Cornwall, North-Wales, (50) and Devon. Then went they up at Watchet, and there much evil wrought in burning and manslaughter. Afterwards they coasted back about Penwithstert on the south side, and, turning into the mouth of the Tamer, went up till they came to Liddyford, burning and slaying everything that they met. Moreover, Ordulf's minster at Tavistock they burned to the ground, and brought to their ships incalculable plunder. This year Archbishop Elfric went to Rome after his staff.
A.D. 998. This year coasted the army back eastward into the mouth of the Frome, and went up everywhere, as widely as they would, into Dorsetshire. Often was an army collected against them; but, as soon as they were about to come together, then were they ever through something or other put to flight, and their enemies always in the end had the victory. Another time they lay in the Isle of Wight, and fed themselves meanwhile from Hampshire and Sussex.
A.D. 999. This year came the army about again into the Thames, and went up thence along the Medway to Rochester; where the Kentish army came against them, and encountered them in a close engagement; but, alas! they too soon yielded and fled; because they had not the aid that they should have had. The Danes therefore occupied the field of battle, and, taking horse, they rode as wide as they would, spoiling and overrunning nearly all West-Kent. Then the king with his council determined to proceed against them with sea and land forces; but as soon as the ships were ready, then arose delay from day to day, which harassed the miserable crew that lay on board; so that, always, the forwarder it should have been, the later it was, from one time to another;—they still suffered the army of their enemies to increase;—the Danes continually retreated from the sea-coast;—and they continually pursued them in vain. Thus in the end these expeditions both by sea and land served no other purpose but to vex the people, to waste their treasure, and to strengthen their enemies."<
(1) The admeasurement of the island, however inaccurate, is from the best authorities of those times, and followed by much later historians.
(2) Gibson, following the Laud MS. has made six nations of five, by introducing the British and Welsh as two distinct tribes.
(3) "De tractu Armoricano."—Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i. I. The word Armenia occurring a few lines above in Bede, it was perhaps inadvertently written by the Saxon compiler of the "Chronicle" instead of Armorica.
(4) In case of a disputed succession, "Ubi res veniret in
dabium," etc.—Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i. I.
(5) Reada, Aelfr.; Reuda, Bede, Hunt. etc. Perhaps it was
originally Reutha or Reotha.
(6) This is an error, arising from the inaccurately written MSS.
of Orosius and Bede; where "in Hybernia" and "in Hiberniam"
occur for "in hiberna". The error is retained in Wheloc's
(7) Labienus = Laberius. Venerable Bede also, and Orosius, whom
he follows verbatim, have "Labienus". It is probably a
mistake of some very ancient scribe, who improperly supplied
the abbreviation "Labius" (for "Laberius") by "Labienus".
(8) Of these early transactions in Britain King Alfred supplies us with a brief but circumstantial account in his Saxon paraphrase of "Orosius".
(9) "8 die Aprilis", Flor. M. West.
(10) Gibbon regrets this chronology, i.e. from the creation of the world, which he thinks preferable to the vulgar mode from the Christian aera. But how vague and uncertain the scale which depends on a point so remote and undetermined as the precise time when the world was created. If we examine the chronometers of different writers we shall find a difference, between the maximum and the minimum, of 3368 years. The Saxon chronology seems to be founded on that of Eusebius, which approaches the medium between the two extremes.
(11) An. 42, Flor. This act is attributed by Orosius, and Bede who follows him, to the threatening conduct of Caligula, with a remark, that it was he (Pilate) who condemned our Lord to death.
(12) An. 48, Flor. See the account of this famine in King Alfred's "Orosius".
(13) Those writers who mention this discovery of the holy cross, by Helena the mother of Constantine, disagree so much in their chronology, that it is a vain attempt to reconcile them to truth or to each other. This and the other notices of ecclesiastical matters, whether Latin or Saxon, from the year 190 to the year 380 of the Laud MS. and 381 of the printed Chronicle, may be safely considered as interpolations, probably posterior to the Norman Conquest.
(14) This is not to be understood strictly; gold being used as a general term for money or coin of every description; great quantities of which, it is well known, have been found at different times, and in many different places, in this island: not only of gold, but of silver, brass, copper, etc.
(15) An interpolated legend, from the "Gesta Pontificum", repeated by Bede, Florence, Matth. West., Fordun, and others. The head was said to be carried to Edessa.
(16) Merely of those called from him "Benedictines". But the compiler of the Cotton MS., who was probably a monk of that order, seems not to acknowledge any other. Matthew of Westminster places his death in 536.
(17) For an interesting and minute account of the arrival of
Augustine and his companions in the Isle of Thanet, their
entrance into Canterbury, and their general reception in
England, vid. Bede, "Hist. Eccles." i. 25, and the following
chapters, with the Saxon translation by King Alfred. The
succeeding historians have in general repeated the very
words of Bede.
(18) It was originally, perhaps, in the MSS. ICC. the
abbreviation for 1,200; which is the number of the slain in
Bede. The total number of the monks of Bangor is said to
have been 2,100; most of whom appear to have been employed
in prayer on this occasion, and only fifty escape by flight.
Vide Bede, "Hist. Eccles." ii. 2, and the tribe of Latin
historians who copy him.
(19) Literally, "swinged, or scourged him." Both Bede and Alfred
begin by recording the matter as a vision, or a dream;
whence the transition is easy to a matter of fact, as here
stated by the Norman interpolators of the "Saxon Annals".
(20) This epithet appears to have been inserted in some copies of
the "Saxon Chronicle" so early as the tenth century; to
distinguish the "old" church or minster at Winchester from
the "new", consecrated A.D. 903.
(21) Beverley-minster, in Yorkshire.
(22) He was a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, the birth-place of St. Paul.
(23) This brief notice of Dryhtelm, for so I find the name written in "Cotton Tiberius B iv." is totally unintelligible without a reference to Bede's "Ecclesiastical History", v. 12; where a curious account of him may be found, which is copied by Matthew of Westminster, anno. 699.
(25) Wothnesbeorhge, Ethelw.; Wonsdike, Malmsb.; Wonebirih, H.
Hunt; Wodnesbeorh, Flor.; Wodnesbirch, M. West. There is no
reason, therefore, to transfer the scene of action to
Woodbridge, as some have supposed from an erroneous reading.
(26) The establishment of the "English school" at Rome is
attributed to Ina; a full account of which, and of the
origin of "Romescot" or "Peter-pence" for the support of it,
may be seen in Matthew of Westminster.
(27) Beorgforda, Ethelw.; Beorhtforda, Flor.; Hereford and Bereford, H. Hunt; Beorford, M. West. This battle of Burford has been considerably amplified by Henry of Huntingdon, and after him by Matthew of Westminster. The former, among other absurdities, talks of "Amazonian" battle-axes. They both mention the banner of the "golden dragon" etc.
(28) The minuteness of this narrative, combined with the
simplicity of it, proves that it was written at no great
distance of time from the event. It is the first that
occurs of any length in the older MSS. of the "Saxon
(29) Penga in the original, i.e. "of pence", or "in pence";
because the silver penny, derived from the Roman "denarius",
was the standard coin in this country for more than a
thousand years. It was also used as a weight, being the
twentieth part of an ounce.
(30) Since called "sheriff"; i.e. the reve, or steward, of the shire. "Exactor regis".—Ethelw.
(31) This is the Grecian method of computation; between the hours of three and six in the morning. It must be recollected, that before the distribution of time into hours, minutes, and seconds, the day and night were divided into eight equal portions, containing three hours each; and this method was continued long afterwards by historians.
(32) This wanton act of barbarity seems to have existed only in the depraved imagination of the Norman interpolator of the "Saxon Annals", who eagerly and impatiently dispatches the story thus, in order to introduce the subsequent account of the synod at Bapchild, so important in his eyes. Hoveden and Wallingford and others have repeated the idle tale; but I have not hitherto found it in any historian of authority.
(33) St. Kenelm is said to have succeeded Cenwulf:
"In the foure and twentithe yere of his kyngdom
Kenulf wente out of this worlde, and to the joye of
It was after that oure Lord in his moder alygte
Eigte hondred yet and neygentene, by a countes rigte,
Seint Kenelm his yonge sone in his sevende yere
Kyng was ymad after him, theg he yong were."
—"Vita S. Kenelmi, MS. Coll. Trin Oxon."
No. 57. Arch.
(34) i.e. the Danes; or, as they are sometimes called, Northmen, which is a general term including all those numerous tribes that issued at different times from the north of Europe, whether Danes, Norwegians, Sweons, Jutes, or Goths, etc.; who were all in a state of paganism at this time.
(35) Aetheredus,—Asser, Ethelwerd, etc. We have therefore adopted this orthography.
(36) It is now generally written, as pronounced, "Swanage".
(37) For a more circumstantial account of the Danish or Norman operations against Paris at this time, the reader may consult Felibien, "Histoire de la Ville de Paris", liv. iii. and the authorities cited by him in the margin. This is that celebrated siege of Paris minutely described by Abbo, Abbot of Fleury, in two books of Latin hexameters; which, however barbarous, contain some curious and authentic matter relating to the history of that period.
(38) This bridge was built, or rebuilt on a larger plan than before, by Charles the Bald, in the year 861, "to prevent the Danes or Normans (says Felibien) from making themselves masters of Paris so easily as they had already done so many times," etc.—"pour empescher que les Normans ne se rendissent maistres de Paris aussi facilement qu'ils l'avoient deja fait tant de lois," etc.—Vol. i. p. 91, folio. It is supposed to be the famous bridge afterwards called "grand pont" or "pont au change",—the most ancient bridge at Paris, and the only one which existed at this time.
(39) Or, in Holmsdale, Surry: hence the proverb—
"This is Holmsdale,
Never conquer'd, never shall."
(40) The pirates of Armorica, now Bretagne; so called, because they abode day and night in their ships; from lid, a ship, and wiccian, to watch or abide day and night.
(41) So I understand the word. Gibson, from Wheloc, says—"in aetatis vigore;" a fact contradicted by the statement of almost every historian. Names of places seldom occur in old MSS. with capital initials.
(42) i.e. the feast of the Holy Innocents; a festival of great
(43) i.e. the secular clergy, who observed no rule; opposed to
the regulars, or monks.
(44) This poetical effusion on the coronation, or rather consecration, of King Edgar, as well as the following on his death, appears to be imitated in Latin verse by Ethelwerd at the end of his curious chronicle. This seems at least to prove that they were both written very near the time, as also the eulogy on his reign, inserted 959.
(45) The following passage from Cotton Tiberius B iv., relating to the accession of Edward the Martyr, should be added here—
In his days,
On account of his youth,
The opponents of God
Broke through God's laws;
And others many;
And marr'd monastic rules;
Minsters they razed,
And monks drove away,
And put God's laws to flight—
Laws that King Edgar
Commanded the holy
Saint Ethelwold bishop
Firmly to settle—
Widows they stript
Oft and at random.
Many breaches of right
And many bad laws
Have arisen since;
Prove only worse.
Then too was Oslac
The mighty earl
Hunted from England's shores.
(46) Florence of Worcester mentions three synods this year;
Kyrtlinege, Calne, and Ambresbyrig.
(47) Vid. "Hist. Eliens." ii. 6. He was a great benefactor to
the church of Ely.
(48) This was probably the veteran historian of that name, who
was killed in the severe encounter with the Danes at Alton
(Aethelingadene) in the year 1001.
(49) i.e. at Canterbury. He was chosen or nominated before, by
King Ethelred and his council, at Amesbury: vid. an. 994.
This notice of his consecration, which is confirmed by
Florence of Worcester, is now first admitted into the text
on the authority of three MSS.
(50) Not the present district so-called, but all that north of the Sea of Severn, as opposed to West-Wales, another name for Cornwall.
End of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Part 1: AD 1 to 999 AD