The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
A.D. 1 - 1154
Part III -- A.D. 920-1014
Part III of VII : Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #17
A.D. 920. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward to Maldon; and repaired and fortified the town, ere he departed thence. And the same year went Earl Thurkytel over sea to Frankland with the men who would adhere to him, under the protection and assistance of King Edward. This year Ethelfleda got into her power, with God's assistance, in the early part of the year, without loss, the town of Leicester; and the greater part of the army that belonged thereto submitted to her. And the Yorkists had also promised and confirmed, some by agreement and some with oaths, that they would be in her interest. But very soon after they had done this, she departed, twelve nights before midsummer, at Tamworth, the eighth year that she was holding the government of the Mercians with right dominion; and her body lieth at Glocester, in the east porch of St. Peter's church. This year also was the daughter of Ethered, lord of the Mercians, deprived of all authority over the Mercians, and led into Wessex, three weeks before midwinter. Her name was Healfwina.
A.D. 921. This year, before Easter, King Edward ordered his men to go to the town of Towcester, and to rebuild it. Then again, after that, in the same year, during the gang-days, he ordered the town of Wigmore to be repaired. The same summer, betwixt Lammas and midsummer, the army broke their parole from Northampton and from Leicester; and went thence northward to Towcester, and fought against the town all day, and thought that they should break into it; but the people that were therein defended it, till more aid came to them; and the enemy then abandoned the town, and went away. Then again, very soon after this, they went out at night for plunder, and came upon men unaware, and seized not a little, both in men and cattle, betwixt Burnham-wood and Aylesbury. At the same time went the army from Huntington and East-Anglia, and constructed that work at Ternsford; which they inhabited and fortified; and abandoned the other at Huntingdon; and thought that they should thence oft with war and contention recover a good deal of this land. Thence they advanced till they came to Bedford; where the men who were within came out against them, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and slew a good number of them. Then again, after this, a great army yet collected itself from East-Anglia and from Mercia, and went to the town of Wigmore; which they besieged without, and fought against long in the day; and took the cattle about it; but the men defended the town, who were within; and the enemy left the town, and went away. After this, the same summer, a large force collected itself in King Edward's dominions, from the nighest towns that could go thither, and went to Temsford; and they beset the town, and fought thereon; until they broke into it, and slew the king, and Earl Toglos, and Earl Mann his son, and his brother, and all them that were therein, and who were resolved to defend it; and they took the others, and all that was therein. After this, a great force collected soon in harvest, from Kent, from Surrey, from Essex, and everywhere from the nighest towns; and went to Colchester, and beset the town, and fought thereon till they took it, and slew all the people, and seized all that was therein; except those men who escaped therefrom over the wall. After this again, this same harvest, a great army collected itself from East-Anglia, both of the land- forces and of the pirates, which they had enticed to their assistance, and thought that they should wreak their vengeance. They went to Maldon, and beset the town, and fought thereon, until more aid came to the townsmen from without to help. The enemy then abandoned the town, and went from it. And the men went after, out of the town, and also those that came from without to their aid; and put the army to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, both of the pirates and of the others. Soon after this, the same harvest, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Passham; and sat there the while that men fortified the town of Towcester with a stone wall. And there returned to him Earl Thurferth, and the captains, and all the army that belonged to Northampton northward to the Welland, and sought him for their lord and protector. When this division of the army went home, then went another out, and marched to the town of Huntingdon; and repaired and renewed it, where it was broken down before, by command of King Edward. And all the people of the country that were left submitted to King Edward, and sought his peace and protection. After this, the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Colchester; and repaired and renewed the town, where it was broken down before. And much people turned to him. both in East- Anglia and in Essex, that were before under the power of the Danes. And all the army in East-Anglia swore union with him; that they would all that he would, and would protect all that he protected, either by sea or land. And the army that belonged to Cambridge chose him separately for their lord and protector, and confirmed the same with oaths, as he had advised. This year King Edward repaired the town of Gladmouth; and the same year King Sihtric slew Neil his brother.
A.D. 922. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with his army to Stamford, and ordered the town to be fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought him for their lord. It was whilst he was tarrying there, that Ethelfleda his sister died at Tamworth, twelve nights before midsummer. Then rode he to the borough of Tamworth; and all the population in Mercia turned to him, who before were subject to Ethelfleda. And the kings in North-Wales, Howel, and Cledauc, and Jothwel, and all the people of North-Wales, sought him for their lord. Then went he thence to Nottingham, and secured that borough, and ordered it to be repaired, and manned both with English and with Danes. And all the population turned to him, that was settled in Mercia, both Danish and English.
A.D. 923. This year went King Edward with an army, late in the harvest, to Thelwall; and ordered the borough to be repaired, and inhabited, and manned. And he ordered another army also from the population of Mercia, the while he sat there to go to Manchester in Northumbria, to repair and to man it. This year died Archbishop Plegmund; and King Reynold won York.
A.D. 924. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over the Trent betwixt the two towns. Thence he went to Bakewell in Peakland; and ordered a fort to be built as near as possible to it, and manned. And the King of Scotland, with all his people, chose him as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the Strath-clyd-wallians, and all his people.
((A.D. 924. This year Edward was chosen for father and for lord by the king of the Scots, and by the Scots, and King Reginald, and by all the North-humbrians, and also the king of the Strath-clyde Britons, and by all the Strath-clyde Britons.))
((A.D. 924. This year King Edward died among the Mercians at Farndon; and very shortly, about sixteen days after this, Elward his son died at Oxford; and their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king by the Mercians, and consecrated at Kingston. And he gave his sister to Ofsae (Otho), son of the king of the Old-Saxons.))
A.D. 925. This year died King Edward at Farndon in Mercia; and Elward his son died very soon after this, in Oxford. Their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king in Mercia, and consecrated at Kingston. He gave his sister to Otho, son of the king of the Old-Saxons. St. Dunstan was now born; and Wulfhelm took to the archbishopric in Canterbury. This year King Athelstan and Sihtric king of the Northumbrians came together at Tamworth, the sixth day before the calends of February, and Athelstan gave away his sister to him.
((A.D. 925. This year Bishop Wulfhelm was consecrated. And that same year King Edward died.))
A.D. 926. This year appeared fiery lights in the northern part of the firmament; and Sihtric departed; and King Athelstan took to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that were in this island: -- First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Emmet, on the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.
A.D. 927. This year King Athelstan expelled King Guthfrith; and Archbishop Wulfhelm went to Rome.
A.D. 928. William took to Normandy, and held it fifteen years.
((A.D. 931. This year died Frithstan, Bishop of Winchester, and Brinstan was blessed in his place.))
A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester on the fourth day before the calends of June; and he held the bishopric two years and a half.
A.D. 933. This year died Bishop Frithestan; and Edwin the atheling was drowned in the sea.
A.D. 934. This year went King Athelstan into Scotland, both with a land-force and a naval armament, and laid waste a great part of it; and Bishop Burnstan died at Winchester at the feast of All Saints.
A.D. 935. This year Bishop Elfheah took to the bishopric of 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 earls.))
A.D. 938. Here Athelstan king, of earls the lord, rewarder of heroes, and his brother eke, Edmund atheling, elder of ancient race, slew in the fight, with the edge of their swords, the foe at Brumby! The sons of Edward their board-walls clove, and hewed their banners, with the wrecks of their hammers. So were they taught by kindred zeal, that they at camp oft 'gainst any robber their land should defend, their hoards and homes. Pursuing fell the Scottish clans; the men of the fleet in numbers fell; 'midst the din of the field the warrior swate. Since the sun was up in morning-tide, gigantic light! glad over grounds, God's candle bright, eternal Lord! -- 'till the noble creature sat in the western main: there lay many of the Northern heroes under a shower of arrows, shot over shields; and Scotland's boast, a Scythian race, the mighty seed of Mars! With chosen troops, throughout the day, the West-Saxons fierce press'd on the loathed bands; hew'd down the fugitives, and scatter'd the rear, with strong mill-sharpen'd blades, The Mercians too the hard hand-play spared not to any of those that with Anlaf over the briny deep in the ship's bosom sought this land for the hardy fight. Five kings lay on the field of battle, in bloom of youth, pierced with swords. So seven eke of the earls of Anlaf; and of the ship's-crew unnumber'd crowds. There was dispersed the little band of hardy Scots, the dread of northern hordes; urged to the noisy deep by unrelenting fate! The king of the fleet with his slender craft escaped with his life on the felon flood; -- and so too Constantine, the valiant chief, returned to the north in hasty flight. The hoary Hildrinc cared not to boast among his kindred. Here was his remnant of relations and friends slain with the sword in the crowded fight. His son too he left on the field of battle, mangled with wounds, young at the fight. The fair-hair'd youth had no reason to boast of the slaughtering strife. Nor old Inwood and Anlaf the more with the wrecks of their army could laugh and say, that they on the field of stern command better workmen were, in the conflict of banners, the clash of spears, the meeting of heroes, and the rustling of weapons, which they on the field of slaughter played with the sons of Edward. The northmen sail'd in their nailed ships, a dreary remnant, on the roaring sea; over deep water Dublin they sought, and Ireland's shores, in great disgrace. Such then the brothers both together king and atheling, sought their country, West-Saxon land, in right triumphant. They left behind them raw to devour, the sallow kite, the swarthy raven with horny nib, and the hoarse vultur, with the eagle swift to consume his prey; the greedy gos-hawk, and that grey beast the wolf of the weald. No slaughter yet was greater made e'er in this island, of people slain, before this same, with the edge of the sword; as the books inform us of the old historians; since hither came from the eastern shores the Angles and Saxons, over the broad sea, and Britain sought, -- fierce battle-smiths, o'ercame the Welsh, most valiant earls, and gained the land.
A.D. 941. This year King Athelstan died in Glocester, on the sixth day before the calends of November, about forty-one winters, bating one night, from the time when King Alfred died. And Edmund Atheling took to the kingdom. He was then eighteen years old. King Athelstan reigned fourteen years and ten weeks. This year the Northumbrians abandoned their allegiance, and chose Anlaf of Ireland for their king.
((A.D. 941. This year King Edmund received King Anlaf at baptism; and that same year, a good long space after, he received King Reginald at the bishop's hands.))
A.D. 942. Here Edmund king, of Angles lord, protector of friends, author and framer of direful deeds. o'erran with speed the Mercian land. whete'er the course of Whitwell-spring, or Humber deep, The broad brim-stream, divides five towns. Leicester and Lincoln. Nottingham and Stamford, and Derby eke. In thraldom long to Norman Danes they bowed through need, and dragged the chains of heathen men; till, to his glory, great Edward's heir, Edmund the king, refuge of warriors, their fetters broke.
A.D. 943. This year Anlaf stormed Tamworth; and much slaughter was made on either hand; but the Danes had the victory, and led away with them much plunder. There was Wulfrun taken, in the spoiling of the town. This year King Edmund beset King Anlaf and Archbishop Wulfstan in Leicester; and he might have conquered them, were it not that they burst out of the town in the night. After this Anlaf obtained the friendship of King Edmund, and King Edmund then received King Anlaf in baptism; and he made him royal presents. And the same year, after some interval, he received King Reynold at episcopal hands. This year also died King Anlaf.
A.D. 944. This year King Edmund reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion, and expelled two kings, Anlaf the son of Sihtric, and Reynold the son of Guthferth.
A.D. 945. This year King Edmund overran all Cumberland; and let it all to Malcolm king of the Scots, on the condition that he became his ally, both by sea and land.
A.D. 946. This year King Edmund died, on St. Augustine's mass day. That was widely known, how he ended his days: -- that Leof stabbed him at Pucklechurch. And Ethelfleda of Damerham, daughter of Alderman Elgar, was then his queen. And he reigned six years and a half: and then succeeded to the kingdom Edred Atheling his brother, who soon after reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion; and the Scots gave him oaths, that they would do all that he desired.
A.D. 947. This year came King Edred to Tadden's-cliff; and there Archbishop Wulfstan and all the council of the Northumbrians bound themselves to an allegiance with the king. And within a little space they abandoned all, both allegiance and oaths.
A.D. 948. This year King Edred overran all Northumberland; because they had taken Eric for their king; and in the pursuit of plunder was that large minster at Rippon set on fire, which St. Wilferth built. As the king returned homeward, he overtook the enemy at York; but his main army was behind at Chesterford. There was great slaughter made; and the king was so wroth, that he would fain return with his force, and lay waste the land withal; but when the council of the Northumbrians understood that, they then abandoned Eric, and compromised the deed with King Edred.
A.D. 949. This year came Anlaf Curran to the land of the 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. 955. This year died King Edred, on St. Clement's mass day, at Frome.(41) He reigned nine years and a half; and he rests in the old minster. Then succeeded Edwy, the son of King Edmund, to the government of the West-Saxons; and Edgar Atheling, his brother, succeeded to the government of the Mercians. They were the sons of King Edmund and of St. Elfgiva.
((A.D. 955. And Edwy succeeded to the kingdom of the West- Saxons, and Edgar his brother succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians: and they were the sons of King Edmund and of S. 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 submissive bow'd; and to his will without a blow he wielded all as pleased himself. Esteem'd he was both far and wide in distant lands; because he prized the name of God, and God's law traced, God's glory rear'd, both far and wide, on every side. Wisely he sought in council oft his people's good, before his God, before the world. One misdeed he did, too much however, that foreign tastes he loved too much; and heathen modes into this land he brought too fast; outlandish men hither enticed; and to this earth attracted crowds of vicious men. But God him grant, that his good deeds be weightier far than his misdeeds, to his soul's redemption on the judgment-day.
A.D. 961. This year departed Odo, the good archbishop, and St. Dunstan took to the archbishopric. This year also died Elfgar, a relative of the king, in Devonshire; and his body lies at Wilton: and King Sifferth killed himself; and his body lies at Wimborn. This year there was a very great pestilence; when the great fever was in London; and St. Paul's minster was consumed with fire, and in the same year was afterwards restored. In this year Athelmod. the masspriest, went to Rome, and there died on the eighteenth before the calends of September.
A.D. 963. This year died Wulfstan, the deacon, on Childermass-day; (42) and afterwards died Gyric, the mass-priest. In the same year took Abbot Athelwold to the bishopric of Winchester; and he was consecrated on the vigil of St. Andrew, which happened on a Sunday. On the second year after he was consecrated, he made many minsters; and drove out the clerks (43) from the bishopric, because they would hold no rule, and set monks therein. He made there two abbacies; one of monks, another of nuns. That was all within Winchester. Then came he afterwards to King Edgar, and requested that he would give him all the minsters that heathen men had before destroyed; for that he would renew them. This the king cheerfully granted; and the bishop came then first to Ely, where St. Etheldritha lies, and ordered the minster to be repaired; which he gave to a monk of his, whose name was Britnoth, whom he consecrated abbot: and there he set monks to serve God, where formerly were nuns. He then bought many villages of the king, and made it very rich. Afterwards came Bishop Athelwold to the minster called Medhamsted, which was formerly ruined by heathen folk; but he found there nothing but old walls, and wild woods. In the old walls at length he found hid writings which Abbot Hedda had formerly written; -- how King Wulfhere and Ethelred his brother had wrought it, and how they freed it against king and against bishop, and against all worldly service; and how Pope Agatho confirmed it with his writ, as also Archbishop Deusdedit. He then ordered the minster to be rebuilt; and set there an abbot, who was called Aldulf; and made monks, where before was nothing. He then came to the king, and let him look at the writings which before were found; and the king then answered and said: "I Edgar grant and give to-day, before God and before Archbishop Dunstan, freedom to St. Peter's minster at Medhamsted, from king and from bishop; and all the thorps that thereto lie; that is, Eastfield, and Dodthorp, and Eye, and Paston. And so I free it, that no bishop have any jurisdiction there, but the abbot of the minster alone. And I give the town called Oundle, with all that thereto lieth, called Eyot-hundred, with market and toll; so freely, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor sheriff, have there any jurisdiction; nor any man but the abbot alone, and whom he may set thereto. And I give to Christ and St. Peter, and that too with the advice of Bishop Athelwold, these lands; -- that is, Barrow, Warmington, Ashton, Kettering, Castor, Eylesworth, Walton, Witherington, Eye, Thorp, and a minster at Stamford. These lands and all 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 aldermanship.
A.D. 969. This year King Edgar ordered all Thanet-land to be plundered.
A.D. 970. This year died Archbishop Oskytel; who was first consecrated diocesan bishop at Dorchester, and afterwards it was by the consent of King Edred and all his council that he was consecrated Archbishop of York. He was bishop two and twenty winters; and he died on Alhallow-mas night, ten nights before Martinmas, at Thame. Abbot Thurkytel, his relative, carried the bishop's body to Bedford, because he was the abbot there at that time.
A.D. 971. This year died Edmund Atheling, and his body lies at 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.))
A.D. 973. Here was Edgar, of Angles lord, with courtly pomp hallow'd to king at Akemancester, the ancient city; whose modern sons, dwelling therein, have named her BATH. Much bliss was there by all enjoyed on that happy day, named Pentecost by men below. A crowd of priests, a throng of monks, I understand, in counsel sage, were gather'd there. Then were agone ten hundred winters of number'd years from the birth of Christ, the lofty king, guardian of light, save that thereto there yet was left of winter-tale, as writings say, seven and twenty. So near had run of the lord of triumphs a thousand years, when this was done. Nine and twenty hard winters there of irksome deeds had Edmund's son seen in the world, when this took place, and on the thirtieth was hallow'd king. (43)
Soon after this the king led all his marine force to Chester; and there came to meet him six kings; and they all covenanted with him, that they would be his allies by sea and by land.
A.D. 975. Here ended his earthly dreams Edgar, of Angles king; chose him other light, serene and lovely, spurning this frail abode, a life that mortals here call lean he quitted with disdain. July the month, by all agreed in this our land, whoever were in chronic lore correctly taught; the day the eighth, when Edgar young, rewarder of heroes, his life -- his throne -- resigned. Edward his son, unwaxen child, of earls the prince, succeeded then to England's throne. Of royal race ten nights before departed hence Cyneward the good -- prelate of manners mild. Well known to me in Mercia then, how low on earth God's glory fell on every side: chaced from the land, his servants fled, -- their wisdom scorned; much grief to him whose bosom glow'd with fervent love of great Creation's Lord! Neglected then the God of wonders, victor of victors, monarch of heaven, -- his laws by man transgressed! Then too was driv'n Oslac beloved an exile far from his native land over the rolling waves, -- over the ganet-bath, over the water-throng, the abode of the whale, -- fair-hair'd hero, wise and eloquent, of home bereft! Then too was seen, high in the heavens, the star on his station, that far and wide wise men call -- lovers of truth and heav'nly lore -- "cometa" by name. Widely was spread God's vengeance then throughout the land, and famine scour'd the hills. May heaven's guardian, the glory of angels, avert these ills, and give us bliss again; that bliss to all abundance yields from earth's choice fruits, throughout this happy isle. (45) ((A.D. 975. The eighth before the ides of July. Here Edgar died, ruler of Angles, West-Saxons' joy, and Mercians' protector. Known was it widely throughout many nations. "Thaet" offspring of Edmund, o'er the ganet's-bath, honoured far, Kings him widely bowed to the king, as was his due by kind. No fleet was so daring, nor army so strong, that 'mid the English nation took from him aught, the while that the noble king ruled on his throne.
A.D. 975 And this year Edward, Edgar's son, succeeded to the kingdom; and then soon, in the same year, during harvest, appeared "cometa" the star; and then came in the following year a very great famine, and very manifold commotions among the English people.
In his days, for his youth, God's gainsayers God's law broke; Eldfere, ealdorman, and others many; and rule monastic quashed, and minsters dissolved, and monks drove out, and God's servants put down, whom Edgar, king, ordered erewhile the holy bishop Ethelwold to stablish; and widows they plundered, many times and oft: and many unrighteousnesses, and evil unjust-deeds arose up afterwards: and ever after that it greatly grew in evil.
And at that rime, also, was Oslac the great earl banished from England.))
A.D. 976. This year was the great famine in England.
A.D. 977. This year was that great council at Kirtlington, (46) after Easter; and there died Bishop Sideman a sudden death, on the eleventh day before the calends of May. He was Bishop of Devonshire; and he wished that his resting-place should be at Crediton, his episcopal residence; but King Edward and Archbishop Dunstan ordered men to carry him to St. Mary's minster that is at Abingdon. And they did so; and he is moreover honourably buried on the north side in St. Paul's porch.
A.D. 978. This year all the oldest counsellors of England fell at Calne from an upper floor; but the holy Archbishop Dunstan stood alone upon a beam. Some were dreadfully bruised: and some did not escape with life. This year was King Edward slain, at eventide, at Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth day before the calends of April. And he was buried at Wareham without any royal honour. No worse deed than this was ever done by the English nation since they first sought the land of Britain. Men murdered him but God has magnified him. He was in life an earthly king -- he is now after death a heavenly saint. Him would not his earthly relatives avenge -- but his heavenly father has avenged him amply. The earthly homicides would wipe out his memory from the earth -- but the avenger above has spread his memory abroad in heaven and in earth. Those, Who would not before bow to his living body, now bow on their knees to His dead bones. Now we may conclude, that the wisdom of men, and their meditations, and their counsels, are as nought against the appointment of God. In this same year succeeded Ethelred Etheling, his brother, to the government; and he was afterwards very readily, and with great joy to the counsellors of England, consecrated king at Kingston. In the same year also died Alfwold, who was Bishop of Dorsetshire, and whose body lieth in the minster at Sherborn.
A.D. 979. In this year was Ethelred consecrated king, on the Sunday fortnight after Easter, at Kingston. And there were at his consecration two archbishops, and ten diocesan bishops. This same year was seen a bloody welkin oft-times in the likeness of fire; and that was most apparent at midnight, and so in misty beams was shown; but when it began to dawn, then it glided away.
((A.D. 979. This year was King Edward slain at even-tide, at Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth before the kalends of April, and then was he buried at Wareham, without any kind of kingly honours.
There has not been 'mid Angles a worse deed done than this was, since they first Britain-land sought. 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 kinsmen avenge, but him hath his heavenly Father greatly avenged. 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, at Winchester.
A.D. 985. This year was Alderman Alfric driven out of the land; and in the same year was Edwin consecrated abbot of the minster at Abingdon.
A.D. 986. This year the king invaded the bishopric of Rochester; and this year came first the great murrain of cattle in England.
A.D. 987. This year was the port of Watchet plundered.
A.D. 988. This year was Goda, the thane of Devonshire, slain; and a great number with him: and Dunstan, the holy archbishop, departed this life, and sought a heavenly one. Bishop Ethelgar succeeded him in the archbishopric; but he lived only a little while after, namely, one year and three months.
A.D. 989. This year died Abbot Edwin, and Abbot Wulfgar succeeded to the abbacy. Siric was this year invested archbishop, and went afterwards to Rome after his pall.
A.D. 991. This year was Ipswich plundered; and very soon afterwards was Alderman Britnoth (47) slain at 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; (48) and, hostages being left with the ships, they led Anlaf with great pomp to the king at Andover. And King Ethelred received him at episcopal hands, and honoured him with royal presents. In return Anlaf promised, as he also performed, that he never again would come in a hostile manner to England.
A.D. 995. This year appeared the comet-star.
A.D. 996. This year was Elfric consecrated archbishop at Christ church. (49)
A.D. 997. This year went the army about Devonshire into Severn-mouth, and equally plundered the people of Cornwall, North-Wales, (50) and Devon. Then went they up at Watchet, and there much evil wrought in burning and manslaughter. Afterwards they coasted back about Penwithstert on the south side, and, turning into the mouth of the Tamer, went up till they came to Liddyford, burning and slaying everything that they met. Moreover, Ordulf's minster at Tavistock they burned to the ground, and brought to their ships incalculable plunder. This year Archbishop Elfric went to Rome after his staff.
A.D. 998. This year coasted the army back eastward into the mouth of the Frome, and went up everywhere, as widely as they would, into Dorsetshire. Often was an army collected against them; but, as soon as they were about to come together, then were they ever through something or other put to flight, and their enemies always in the end had the victory. Another time they lay in the Isle of Wight, and fed themselves meanwhile from Hampshire and Sussex.
A.D. 999. This year came the army about again into the Thames, and went up thence along the Medway to Rochester; where the Kentish army came against them, and encountered them in a close engagement; but, alas! they too soon yielded and fled; because they had not the aid that they should have had. The Danes therefore occupied the field of battle, and, taking horse, they rode as wide as they would, spoiling and overrunning nearly all West-Kent. Then the king with his council determined to proceed against them with sea and land forces; but as soon as the ships were ready, then arose delay from day to day, which harassed the miserable crew that lay on board; so that, always, the forwarder it should have been, the later it was, from one time to another; -- they still suffered the army of their enemies to increase; -- the Danes continually retreated from the sea-coast; -- and they continually pursued them in vain. Thus in the end these expeditions both by sea and land served no other purpose but to vex the people, to waste their treasure, and to strengthen their enemies.
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; (51) Wulfeah and Ufgeat were deprived of sight; Alderman Elfelm was slain; and Bishop Kenulf (52) 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 Canterbury].))
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 (53).
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. (54) 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, (55) 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, (56) 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 great wretchedness, where oft before great bliss was seen, in the fated city, whence first to us came Christendom, 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 clothe them.
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 (57) 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 the lady 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.
ENDNOTES: (41) So I understand the word. Gibson, from Wheloc, says -- "in aetatis vigore;" a fact contradicted by the statement of almost every historian. Names of places seldom occur in old MSS. with capital initials. (42) i.e. the feast of the Holy Innocents; a festival of great antiquity. (43) i.e. the secular clergy, who observed no rule; opposed to the regulars, or monks. (44) This poetical effusion on the coronation, or rather consecration, of King Edgar, as well as the following on his death, appears to be imitated in Latin verse by Ethelwerd at the end of his curious chronicle. This seems at least to prove that they were both written very near the time, as also the eulogy on his reign, inserted 959. (45) The following passage from Cotton Tiberius B iv., relating to the accession of Edward the Martyr, should be added here -- In his days, On account of his youth, The opponents of God Broke through God's laws; Alfhere alderman, And others many; And marr'd monastic rules; Minsters they razed, And monks drove away, And put God's laws to flight -- Laws that King Edgar Commanded the holy Saint Ethelwold bishop Firmly to settle -- Widows they stript Oft and at random. Many breaches of right And many bad laws Have arisen since; And after-times Prove only worse. Then too was Oslac The mighty earl Hunted from England's shores. (46) Florence of Worcester mentions three synods this year; Kyrtlinege, Calne, and Ambresbyrig. (47) Vid. "Hist. Eliens." ii. 6. He was a great benefactor to the church of Ely. (48) This was probably the veteran historian of that name, who was killed in the severe encounter with the Danes at Alton (Aethelingadene) in the year 1001. (49) i.e. at Canterbury. He was chosen or nominated before, by King Ethelred and his council, at Amesbury: vid. an. 994. This notice of his consecration, which is confirmed by Florence of Worcester, is now first admitted into the text on the authority of three MSS. (50) Not the present district so-called, but all that north of the Sea of Severn, as opposed to West-Wales, another name for Cornwall. (51) See a more full and circumstantial account of these events, with some variation of names, in Florence of Worcester. (52) The successor of Elfeah, or Alphege, in the see of Winchester, on the translation of the latter to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. (53) This passage, though very important, is rather confused, from the Variations in the MSS.; so that it is difficult to ascertain the exact proportion of ships and armour which each person was to furnish. "Vid. Flor." an. 1008. (54) These expressions in the present tense afford a strong proof that the original records of these transactions are nearly coeval with the transactions themselves. Later MSS. use the past tense. (55) i.e. the Chiltern Hills; from which the south-eastern part of Oxfordshire is called the Chiltern district. (56) "Leofruna abbatissa". -- Flor. The insertion of this quotation from Florence of Worcester is important, as it confirms the reading adopted in the text. The abbreviation "abbt", instead of "abb", seems to mark the abbess. She was the last abbess of St. Mildred's in the Isle of Thanet; not Canterbury, as Harpsfield and Lambard say. (57) This was a title bestowed on the queen. (58) The "seven" towns mentioned above are reduced here to "five"; probably because two had already submitted to the king on the death of the two thanes, Sigferth and Morcar. These five were, as originally, Leicester, Lincoln, Stamford, Nottingham, and Derby. Vid. an. 942, 1013.
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