The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
A.D. 1 - 1154
Part II ---- 750-919
Part II of VII : Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #17
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 Acley.
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 ),ear 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 Rochester.))
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 o[ 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. 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 slain; 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.))
ENDNOTES: (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 Chronicle". (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 hevene com; 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.
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