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
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
A.D. 935. This year Bishop Elfheah took to
the bishopric of Winchester.
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
A.D. 938. Here
of earls the lord,
rewarder of heroes,
and his brother eke,
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.
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
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
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
king and atheling,
sought their country,
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, --
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
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.
of Angles lord,
protector of friends,
author and framer
of direful deeds.
o'erran with speed
the Mercian land.
whete'er the course
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 Northumbrians.
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 Dorchester.
A.D. 955. This year died King Edred, on St.
Clement's mass day, at Frome. 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. Elfgiva.
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
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;
and to this earth
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; 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 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 December.
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 Milton Cyneward.
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
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 Rumsey.
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.
Here was Edgar,
of Angles lord,
with courtly pomp
hallow'd to king
the ancient city;
whose modern sons,
have named her BATH.
Much bliss was there
by all enjoyed
on that happy day,
by men below.
A crowd of priests,
a throng of monks,
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
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.
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.
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,
in chronic lore
the day the eighth,
when Edgar young,
rewarder of heroes,
his life -- his throne -- resigned.
Edward his son,
of earls the prince,
to England's throne.
Of royal race
ten nights before
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!
the God of wonders,
victor of victors,
monarch of heaven, --
his laws by man transgressed!
Then too was driv'n
an exile far
from his native land
over the rolling waves, --
over the ganet-bath,
over the water-throng,
the abode of the whale, --
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
from earth's choice fruits,
throughout this happy isle.
A.D. 975. The eighth before the ides of July.
Here Edgar died,
ruler of Angles,
and Mercians' protector.
Known was it widely
throughout many nations.
"Thaet" offspring of Edmund,
o'er the ganet's-bath,
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 law broke;
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
A.D. 977. This year was that great council at
Kirtlington, 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
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 honours.
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 Southampton.
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,
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
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 slain at Maldon. 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; 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.
A.D. 997. This year went the army about
Devonshire into Severn-mouth, and equally plundered the people of
Cornwall, North-Wales, 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. "
A.D. 1000. This year the king went into
Cumberland, and nearly laid waste the whole of it with his army, whilst
his navy sailed about Chester with the design of co-operating with his
land-forces; but, finding it impracticable, they ravaged Anglesey. The
hostile fleet was this summer turned towards the kingdom of Richard.
A.D. 1001. This year there was great
commotion in England in consequence of an invasion by the Danes, who
spread terror and devastation wheresoever they went, plundering and
burning and desolating the country with such rapidity, that they advanced
in one march as far as the town of Alton; where the people of Hampshire
came against them, and fought with them. There was slain Ethelwerd,
high-steward of the king, and Leofric of Whitchurch, and Leofwin,
high-steward of the king, and Wulfhere, a bishop's thane, and Godwin of
Worthy, son of Bishop Elfsy; and of all the men who were engaged with them
eighty-one. Of the Danes there was slain a much greater number, though
they remained in possession of the field of battle. Thence they proceeded
westward, until they came into Devonshire; where Paley came to meet them
with the ships which he was able to collect; for he had shaken off his
allegiance to King Ethelred, against all the vows of truth and fidelity
which he had given him, as well as the presents which the king had
bestowed on him in houses and gold and silver. And they burned Teignton,
and also many other goodly towns that we cannot name; and then peace was
there concluded with them. And they proceeded thence towards Exmouth, so
that they marched at once till they came to Pin-hoo; where Cole,
high-steward of the king, and Edsy, reve of the king, came against them
with the army that they could collect. But they were there put to flight,
and there were many slain, and the Danes had possession of the field of
battle. And the next morning they burned the village of Pin-hoo, and of
Clist, and also many goodly towns that we cannot name. Then they returned
eastward again, till they came to the Isle of Wight. The next morning
they burned the town of Waltham, and many other small towns; soon after
which the people treated with them, and they made peace.
A.D. 1001. This year the army came to
Exmouth, and then went up to the town, and there continued fighting
stoutly; but they were very strenuously resisted. Then went they through
the land, and did all as was their wont; destroyed and burnt. Then was
collected a vast force of the people of Devon and of the people of
Somerset, and they then came together at Pen. And so soon as they joined
battle, then the people gave way: and there they made great slaughter, and
then they rode over the land, and their last incursion was ever worse than
the one before: and then they brought much booty with them to their
ships. And thence they went into the Isle of Wight, and there they roved
about, even as they themselves would, and nothing withstood them: nor any
fleet by sea durst meet them; nor land force either, went they ever so far
up. Then was it in every wise a heavy time, because they never ceased
from their evil doings.
A.D. 1002. This year the king and his council
agreed that tribute should be given to the fleet, and peace made with
them, with the provision that they should desist from their mischief. Then
sent the king to the fleet Alderman Leofsy, who at the king's word and his
council made peace with them, on condition that they received food and
tribute; which they accepted, and a tribute was paid of 24,000 pounds. In
the meantime Alderman Leofsy slew Eafy, high-steward of the king; and the
king banished him from the land. Then, in the same Lent, came the Lady
Elfgive Emma, Richard's daughter, to this land. And in the same summer
died Archbishop Eadulf; and also, in the same year the king gave an order
to slay all the Danes that were in England. This was accordingly done on
the mass-day of St. Brice; because it was told the king, that they would
beshrew him of his life, and afterwards all his council, and then have his
kingdom without any resistance.
A.D. 1003. This year was Exeter demolished,
through the French churl Hugh, whom the lady had appointed her steward
there. And the army destroyed the town withal, and took there much spoil.
In the same year came the army up into Wiltshire. Then was collected a
very great force, from Wiltshire and from Hampshire; which was soon ready
on their march against the enemy: and Alderman Elfric should have led them
on; but he brought forth his old tricks, and as soon as they were so near,
that either army looked on the other, then he pretended sickness, and
began to retch, saying he was sick; and so betrayed the people that he
should have led: as it is said, "When the leader is sick the whole army is
hindered." When Sweyne saw that they were not ready, and that they all
retreated, then led he his army into Wilton; and they plundered and burned
the town. Then went he to Sarum; and thence back to the sea, where he
knew his ships were.
A.D. 1004. This year came Sweyne with his
fleet to Norwich, plundering and burning the whole town. Then Ulfkytel
agreed with the council in East-Anglia, that it were better to purchase
peace with the enemy, ere they did too much harm on the land; for that
they had come unawares, and he had not had time to gather his force.
Then, under the truce that should have been between them, stole the army
up from their ships, and bent their course to Thetford. When Ulfkytel
understood that, then sent he an order to hew the ships in pieces; but
they frustrated his design. Then he gathered his forces, as secretly as
he could. The enemy came to Thetford within three weeks after they had
plundered Norwich; and, remaining there one night, they spoiled and burned
the town; but, in the morning, as they were proceeding to their ships,
came Ulfkytel with his army, and said that they must there come to close
quarters. And, accordingly, the two armies met together; and much
slaughter was made on both sides. There were many of the veterans of the
East-Angles slain; but, if the main army had been there, the enemy had
never returned to their ships. As they said themselves, that they never
met with worse hand-play in England than Ulfkytel brought them.
A.D. 1005. This year died Archbishop Elfric;
and Bishop Elfeah succeeded him in the archbishopric. This year was the
great famine in England so severe that no man ere remembered such. The
fleet this year went from this land to Denmark, and took but a short
respite, before they came again.
A.D. 1006. This year Elfeah was consecrated
Archbishop; Bishop Britwald succeeded to the see of Wiltshire; Wulfgeat
was deprived of all his property; Wulfeah and Ufgeat were deprived of
sight; Alderman Elfelm was slain; and Bishop Kenulf departed this life.
Then, over midsummer, came the Danish fleet to Sandwich, and did as they
were wont; they barrowed and burned and slew as they went. Then the king
ordered out all the population from Wessex and from Mercia; and they lay
out all the harvest under arms against the enemy; but it availed nothing
more than it had often done before. For all this the enemy went
wheresoever they would; and the expedition did the people more harm than
either any internal or external force could do. When winter approached,
then went the army home; and the enemy retired after Martinmas to their
quarters in the Isle of Wight, and provided themselves everywhere there
with what they wanted. Then, about midwinter, they went to their ready
farm, throughout Hampshire into Berkshire, to Reading. And they did
according to their custom, -- they lighted their camp-beacons as they
advanced. Thence they marched to Wallingford, which they entirely
destroyed, and passed one night at Cholsey. They then turned along
Ashdown to Cuckamsley-hill, and there awaited better cheer; for it was
often said, that if they sought Cuckamsley, they would never get to the
sea. But they went another way homeward. Then was their army collected
at Kennet; and they came to battle there, and soon put the English force
to flight; and afterwards carried their spoil to the sea. There might the
people of Winchester see the rank and iniquitous foe, as they passed by
their gates to the sea, fetching their meat and plunder over an extent of
fifty miles from sea. Then was the king gone over the Thames into
Shropshire; and there he fixed his abode during midwinter. Meanwhile, so
great was the fear of the enemy, that no man could think or devise how to
drive them from the land, or hold this territory against them; for they
had terribly marked each shire in Wessex with fire and devastation. Then
the king began to consult seriously with his council, what they all
thought most advisable for defending this land, ere it was utterly
undone. Then advised the king and his council for the advantage of all
the nation, though they were all loth to do it, that they needs must bribe
the enemy with a tribute. The king then sent to the army, and ordered it
to be made known to them, that his desire was, that there should be peace
between them, and that tribute and provision should be given them. And
they accepted the terms; and they were provisioned throughout England.
((A.D. 1006. This year Elphege was consecrated archbishop [of
A.D. 1007. In this year was the tribute paid
to the hostile army; that was, 30,000 pounds. In this year also was Edric
appointed alderman over all the kingdom of the Mercians. This year went
Bishop Elfeah to Rome after his pall. A.D. 1008. This year bade the king
that men should speedily build ships over all England; that is, a man
possessed of three hundred and ten hides to provide on galley or skiff;
and a man possessed of eight hides only, to find a helmet and breastplate.
A.D. 1009. This year were the ships ready,
that we before spoke about; and there were so many of them as never were
in England before, in any king's days, as books tell us. And they were
all transported together to Sandwich; that they should lie there, and
defend this land against any out-force. But we have not yet had the
prosperity and the honour, that the naval armament should be useful to
this land, any more than it often before was. It was at this same time,
or a little earlier, that Brihtric, brother of Alderman Edric, bewrayed
Wulnoth, the South-Saxon knight, father of Earl Godwin, to the king; and
he went into exile, and enticed the navy, till he had with him twenty
ships; with which he plundered everywhere by the south coast, and wrought
every kind of mischief. When it was told the navy that they might easily
seize him, if they would look about them, then took Brihtric with him
eighty ships; and thought that he should acquire for himself much
reputation, by getting Wulnoth into his hands alive or dead. But, whilst
they were proceeding thitherward, there came such a wind against them, as
no man remembered before; which beat and tossed the ships, and drove them
aground; whereupon Wulnoth soon came, and burned them. When this was
known to the remaining ships, where the king was, how the others fared, it
was then as if all were lost. The king went home, with the aldermen and
the nobility; and thus lightly did they forsake the ships; whilst the men
that were in them rowed them back to London. Thus lightly did they suffer
the labour of all the people to be in vain; nor was the terror lessened,
as all England hoped. When this naval expedition was thus ended, then
came, soon after Lammas, the formidable army of the enemy, called
Thurkill's army, to Sandwich; and soon they bent their march to
Canterbury; which city they would quickly have stormed, had they not
rather desired peace; and all the men of East-Kent made peace with the
army, and gave them 3,000 pounds for security. The army soon after that
went about till they came to the Isle of Wight; and everywhere in Sussex,
and in Hampshire, and also in Berkshire, they plundered and burned, as
THEIR CUSTOM IS. Then ordered the king to summon out all the population,
that men might hold firm against them on every side; but nevertheless they
marched as they pleased. On one occasion the king had begun his march
before them, as they proceeded to their ships, and all the people were
ready to fall upon them; but the plan was then frustrated through Alderman
Edric, AS IT EVER IS STILL. Then after Martinmas they went back again to
Kent, and chose their winter-quarters on the Thames; obtaining their
provisions from Essex, and from the shires that were next, on both sides
of the Thames. And oft they fought against the city of London; but glory
be to God, that it yet standeth firm: and they ever there met with ill
fare. Then after midwinter took they an excursion up through Chiltern,
and so to Oxford; which city they burned, and plundered on both sides of
the Thames to their ships. Being fore-warned that there was an army
gathered against them at London, they went over at Staines; and thus were
they in motion all the winter, and in spring, appeared again in Kent, and
repaired their ships.
A.D. 1010. This year came the aforesaid army,
after Easter, into East Anglia; and went up at Ipswich, marching
continually till they came where they understood Ulfcytel was with his
army. This was on the day called the first of the Ascension of our Lord.
The East-Angles soon fled. Cambridgeshire stood firm against them. There
was slain Athelstan, the king's relative, and Oswy, and his son, and
Wulfric, son of Leofwin, and Edwy, brother of Efy, and many other good
thanes, and a multitude of the people. Thurkytel Myrehead first began the
flight; and the Danes remained masters of the field of slaughter. There
were they horsed; and afterwards took possession of East-Anglia, where
they plundered and burned three months; and then proceeded further into
the wild fens, slaying both men and cattle, and burning throughout the
fens. Thetford also they burned, and Cambridge; and afterwards went back
southward into the Thames; and the horsemen rode towards the ships. Then
went they west-ward into Oxfordshire, and thence to Buckinghamshire, and
so along the Ouse till they came to Bedford, and so forth to Temsford,
always burning as they went. Then returned they to their ships with their
spoil, which they apportioned to the ships. When the king's army should
have gone out to meet them as they went up, then went they home; and when
they were in the east, then was the army detained in the west; and when
they were in the south, then was the army in the north. Then all the
privy council were summoned before the king, to consult how they might
defend this country. But, whatever was advised, it stood not a month; and
at length there was not a chief that would collect an army, but each fled
as he could: no shire, moreover, would stand by another. Before the
feast-day of St. Andrew came the enemy to Northampton, and soon burned the
town, and took as much spoil thereabout as they would; and then returned
over the Thames into Wessex, and so by Cannings-marsh, burning all the
way. When they had gone as far as they would, then came they by midwinter
to their ships.
A.D. 1011. This year sent the king and his
council to the army, and desired peace; promising them both tribute and
provisions, on condition that they ceased from plunder. They had now
overrun East-Anglia , and Essex , and Middlesex , and Oxfordshire
, and Cambridgeshire , and Hertfordshire , and Buckinghamshire
, and Bedfordshire , and half of Huntingdonshire , and much of
Northamptonshire ; and, to the south of the Thames, all Kent, and
Sussex, and Hastings, and Surrey, and Berkshire, and Hampshire, and much
of Wiltshire. All these disasters befel us through bad counsels; that
they would not offer tribute in time, or fight with them; but, when they
had done most mischief, then entered they into peace and amity with them.
And not the less for all this peace, and amity, and tribute, they went
everywhere in troops; plundering, and spoiling, and slaying our miserable
people. In this year, between the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas,
they beset Canterbury, and entered therein through treachery; for Elfmar
delivered the city to them, whose life Archbishop Elfeah formerly saved.
And there they seized Archbishop Elfeah, and Elfward the king's steward,
and Abbess Leofruna, and Bishop Godwin; and Abbot Elfmar they suffered to
go away. And they took therein all the men, and husbands, and wives; and
it was impossible for any man to say how many they were; and in the city
they continued afterwards as long as they would. And, when they had
surveyed all the city, they then returned to their ships, and led the
archbishop with them.
Then was a captive
he who before was
of England head
and Christendom; --
there might be seen
where oft before
great bliss was seen,
in the fated city,
whence first to us
and bliss 'fore God
and 'fore the world.
And the archbishop they kept with them until
the time when they martyred him.
A.D. 1012. This year came Alderman Edric, and
all the oldest counsellors of England, clerk and laity, to London before
Easter, which was then on the ides of April; and there they abode, over
Easter, until all the tribute was paid, which was 48,000 pounds. Then on
the Saturday was the army much stirred against the bishop; because he
would not promise them any fee, and forbade that any man should give
anything for him. They were also much drunken; for there was wine brought
them from the south. Then took they the bishop, and led him to their
hustings, on the eve of the Sunday after Easter, which was the thirteenth
before the calends of May; and there they then shamefully killed him.
They overwhelmed him with bones and horns of oxen; and one of them smote
him with an axe-iron on the head; so that he sunk downwards with the blow;
and his holy blood fell on the earth, whilst his sacred soul was sent to
the realm of God. The corpse in the morning was carried to London; and
the bishops, Ednoth and Elfhun, and the citizens, received him with all
honour, and buried him in St. Paul's minster; where God now showeth this
holy martyr's miracles. When the tribute was paid, and the peace-oaths
were sworn, then dispersed the army as widely as it was before collected.
Then submitted to the king five and forty of the ships of the enemy; and
promised him, that they would defend this land, and he should feed and
A.D. 1013. The year after that Archbishop
Elfeah was martyred, the king appointed Lifing to the archiepiscopal see
of Canterbury. And in the same year, before the month August, came King
Sweyne with his fleet to Sandwich; and very soon went about East-Anglia
into the Humber-mouth, and so upward along the Trent, until he came to
Gainsborough. Then soon submitted to him Earl Utred, and all the
Northumbrians, and all the people of Lindsey, and afterwards the people of
the Five Boroughs, and soon after all the army to the north of
Watling-street; and hostages were given him from each shire. When he
understood that all the people were subject to him, then ordered he that
his army should have provision and horses; and he then went southward with
his main army, committing his ships and the hostages to his son Knute.
And after he came over Watling-street, they wrought the greatest mischief
that any army could do. Then he went to Oxford; and the population soon
submitted, and gave hostages; thence to Winchester, where they did the
same. Thence went they eastward to London; and many of the party sunk in
the Thames, because they kept not to any bridge. When he came to the
city, the population would not submit; but held their ground in full fight
against him, because therein was King Ethelred, and Thurkill with him.
Then went King Sweyne thence to Wallingford; and so over Thames westward
to Bath, where he abode with his army. Thither came Alderman Ethelmar,
and all the western thanes with him, and all submitted to Sweyne, and gave
hostages. When he had thus settled all, then went he northward to his
ships; and all the population fully received him, and considered him full
king. The population of London also after this submitted to him, and gave
hostages; because they dreaded that he would undo them. Then bade Sweyne
full tribute and forage for his army during the winter; and Thurkill bade
the same for the army that lay at Greenwich: besides this, they plundered
as oft as they would. And when this nation could neither resist in the
south nor in the north, King Ethelred abode some while with the fleet that
lay in the Thames; and the lady went afterwards over sea to her brother
Richard, accompanied by Elfsy, Abbot of Peterborough. The king sent Bishop
Elfun with the ethelings, Edward and Alfred, over sea; that he might
instruct them. Then went the king from the fleet, about midwinter, to the
Isle of Wight; and there abode for the season; after which he went over
sea to Richard, with whom he abode till the time when Sweyne died. Whilst
was with her brother beyond sea, Elfsy, Abbot of Peterborough,
who was there with her, went to the abbey called Boneval, where
St. Florentine's body lay; and there found a miserable place, a
miserable abbot, and miserable monks: because they had been
plundered. There he bought of the abbot, and of the monks, the
body of St. Florentine, all but the head, for 500 pounds; which,
on his return home, he offered to Christ and St. Peter.
A.D. 1014. This year King Sweyne ended his days at Candlemas,
the third day before the nones of February; and the same year
Elfwy, Bishop of York, was consecrated in London, on the festival
of St. Juliana. The fleet all chose Knute for king; whereupon
advised all the counsellors of England, clergy and laity, that
they should send after King Ethelred; saying, that no sovereign
was dearer to them than their natural lord, if he would govern
them better than he did before. Then sent the king hither his
son Edward, with his messengers; who had orders to greet all his
people, saying that he would be their faithful lord -- would
better each of those things that they disliked -- and that each
of the things should be forgiven which had been either done or
said against him; provided they all unanimously, without
treachery, turned to him. Then was full friendship established,
in word and in deed and in compact, on either side. And every
Danish king they proclaimed an outlaw for ever from England.
Then came King Ethelred home, in Lent, to his own people; and he
was gladly received by them all. Meanwhile, after the death of
Sweyne, sat Knute with his army in Gainsborough until Easter; and
it was agreed between him and the people of Lindsey, that they
should supply him with horses, and afterwards go out all together
and plunder. But King Ethelred with his full force came to
Lindsey before they were ready; and they plundered and burned,
and slew all the men that they could reach. Knute, the son of
Sweyne, went out with his fleet (so were the wretched people
deluded by him), and proceeded southward until he came to
Sandwich. There he landed the hostages that were given to his
father, and cut off their hands and ears and their noses.Besides all these evils, the king ordered a tribute to the army
that lay at Greenwich, of 21,000 pounds. This year, on the eve
of St. Michael's day, came the great sea-flood, which spread wide
over this land, and ran so far up as it never did before,
overwhelming many towns, and an innumerable multitude of people.