60 B.C.-1024 A.D.
Brittene igland is ehta hund mila lang. 7 twa hund brad. 7 her sind on þis iglande
fif geþeode. Englisc. 7 Brittisc. 7 Wilsc. 7 Scyttisc. 7 Pyhtisc. 7 Bocleden. Erest weron
bugend þises landes Brittes. þa coman of Armenia. ...... from the ‘Peterborough’ MS
The island Britain1
is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations [languages]; English, Welsh (or
Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first
inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia,
and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that the
Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and,
landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the
Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them
leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell
there together; “But,” said the Scots, “we can nevertheless give
you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you
may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will
assist you, that you may gain it.” Then went the Picts and
entered this land northward. Southward the Britons possessed it,
as we before said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on
condition that they chose their kings always on the female
which they have continued to do, so long since. And it
happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from
Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land.
Their leader was called
whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).
Sixty winters ere that Christ was born, Caius Julius, emperor of
the Romans, with eighty ships sought Britain. There he was first
beaten in a dreadful fight, and lost a great part of his army.
Then he let his army abide with the
Scots 6 and went south
into Gaul. There he gathered six hundred ships, with which he
went back into Britain. When they first rushed together,
Caesar’s tribune, whose name was
Labienus,7 was slain.
Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great clubs into
the water, at a certain ford of the river called Thames. When
the Romans found that, they would not go over the ford. Then
fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the woods; and Caesar,
having after much fighting gained many of the chief towns, went
back into Gaul.8
B.C. 60.* Before
the incarnation of Christ sixty years, Gaius
Julius the emperor, first of the Romans, sought the land of
Britain; and he crushed the Britons in battle, and overcame them;
and nevertheless he was unable to gain any empire there.
A.D. 1 Octavianus reigned fifty-six winters; and in the forty-
second year of his reign Christ was born. Then three astrologers
from the east came to worship Christ; and the children in
Bethlehem were slain by Herod in persecution of Christ.
A.D. 3 This year died Herod, stabbed by his own hand; and
Archelaus his son succeeded him. The child Christ was also this
year brought back again from Egypt.
A.D. 6. From the beginning of the world to this year were agone
five thousand and two hundred winters.
A.D. 11. This year Herod the son of Antipater undertook the
government in Judea.
A.D. 12. This year Philip and Herod divided Judea into four
A.D. 12.* This year Judea was divided into four tetrarchies.
A.D. 16. This year Tiberius succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 26. This year Pilate began to reign over the Jews.
A.D. 30. This year was Christ baptized; and Peter and Andrew
were converted, together with James, and John, and Philip, and
all the twelve apostles.
A.D. 33. This year was Christ crucified;
9 about five thousand
two hundred and twenty six winters from the beginning of the
A.D. 34. This year was St. Paul converted, and St. Stephen stoned.
A.D. 35. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an
episcopal see in the city of Antioch.
A.D. 37. This year 11 Pilate
slew himself with his own hand.
A.D. 39. This year Caius undertook the empire.
A.D. 44. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an
episcopal see at Rome; and James, the brother of John, was slain
A.D. 45. This year died Herod, who slew James one year ere his
A.D. 46. This year Claudius, the second of the Roman emperors
who invaded Britain, took the greater part of the island into his
power, and added the Orkneys to rite dominion of the Romans.
This was in the fourth year of his reign. And in the same year
the great famine in Syria which Luke mentions in
the book called “The Acts of the Apostles”. After Claudius Nero
succeeded to the empire, who almost lost the island Britain
through his incapacity.
A.D. 46.* This year the Emperor Claudius came to Britain, and
subdued a large part of the island; and he also added the island
of Orkney to the dominion of the Romans.
A.D. 47. This year Mark, the evangelist in Egypt beginneth to
write the gospel.
A.D. 47.* This was in the fourth year of his reign, and in this
same year was the great famine in Syria which Luke speaks of in
the book called “Actus Apostolorum”.
A.D. 47.* This year Claudius, king of the Romans, went with an
army into Britain, and subdued the island, and subjected all the
Picts and Welsh to the rule of the Romans.
A.D. 50. This year Paul was sent bound to Rome.
A.D. 62. This year James, the brother of Christ, suffered.
A.D. 63. This year Mark the evangelist departed this life.
A.D. 69. This year Peter and Paul suffered.
A.D. 70. This year Vespasian undertook the empire.
A.D. 71. This year Titus, son of Vespasian, slew in Jerusalem
eleven hundred thousand Jews.
A.D. 81. This year Titus came to the empire, after Vespasian,
who said that he considered the day lost in which he did no good.
A.D. 83. This year Domitian, the brother of Titus, assumed the
A.D. 84. This year John the evangelist in the island Patmos
wrote the book called “The Apocalypse”.
A.D. 90. This year Simon, the apostle, a relation of Christ, was
crucified: and John the evangelist rested at Ephesus.
A.D. 92. This year died Pope Clement.
A.D. 110. This year Bishop Ignatius suffered.
A.D. 116. This year Hadrian the Caesar began to reign.
A.D. 145. This year Marcus Antoninus and Aurelius his brother
succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 167.* This year Eleutherius succeeded to the
popedom, and held it fifteen years; and in the same year Lucius, king of the
Britons, sent and begged baptism of him. And he soon sent it
him, and they continued in the true faith until the time of
A.D. 189. This year Severus came to the empire; and went with
his army into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the
island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall
thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons. He
reigned seventeen years; and then ended his days at York. His
son Bassianus succeeded him in the empire. His other son, who
perished, was called Geta. This year Eleutherius undertook the
bishopric of Rome, and held it honourably for fifteen winters.
To him Lucius, king of the Britons, sent letters, and prayed that
he might be made a Christian. He obtained his request; and they
continued afterwards in the right belief until the reign of
A.D. 199. In this year was found the holy
A.D. 283. This year suffered Saint Alban the Martyr.
A.D. 343. This year died St. Nicolaus.
A.D. 379. This year Gratian succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 381. This year Maximus the Caesar came to the empire. He
was born in the land of Britain, whence he passed over into Gaul.
He there slew the Emperor Gratian; and drove his brother, whose
name was Valentinian, from his country (Italy). The same
Valentinian afterwards collected an army, and slew Maximus;
whereby he gained the empire. About this time arose the error of
Pelagius over the world.
A.D. 418. This year the Romans collected all the hoards of gold
were in Britain; and some they hid in the earth, so
that no man afterwards might find them, and some they carried
away with them into Gaul.
A.D. 423. This year Theodosius the younger succeeded to the
A.D. 429. This year Bishop Palladius was sent from Pope
Celesrinus to the Scots, that he might establish their faith.
A.D. 430. This year Patricius was sent from Pope Celestinus to
preach baptism to the Scots.
A.D. 430.* This year Patrick was sent by Pope Celestine to
preach baptism to the Scots.
A.D. 435. This year the Goths sacked the city of Rome; and never
since have the Romans reigned in Britain. This was about eleven
hundred and ten winters after it was built. They reigned
altogether in Britain four hundred and seventy winters since
Gaius Julius first sought that land.
A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome, and
begged assistance against the Picts; but they had none, for the
Romans were at war with Atila, king of the Huns. Then sent they
to the Angles, and requested the same from the nobles of that
A.D. 444. This year died St. Martin.
A.D. 448. This year John the Baptist showed his head to two
monks, who came from the eastern country to Jerusalem for the
sake of prayer, in the place that whilom was the palace of Herod.
A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire,
and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa,
invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance,
landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first
of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against
them. The king directed them to fight against the Picts; and
they did so; and obtained the victory wheresoever they came.
They then sent to the Angles, and desired them to send more
assistance. They described the worthlessness of the Britons, and
the richness of the land. They then sent them greater support.
Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons,
the Angles, and the Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the men
of Kent, the Wightwarians (that is, the tribe that now dwelleth
in the Isle of Wight), and that kindred in Wessex that men yet
call the kindred of the Jutes. From the Old Saxons came the
people of Essex and Sussex and Wessex. From Anglia, which has
ever since remained waste between the Jutes and the Saxons, came
the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians, and all of
those north of the Humber. Their leaders were two brothers,
Hengest and Horsa; who were the sons of Wihtgils; Wihtgils was
the son of Witta, Witta of Wecta, Wecta of Woden. From this
Woden arose all our royal kindred, and that of the Southumbrians
A.D. 449.* And in their days
Vortigern invited the Angles thither, and they came to Britain in three ceols,
at the place called Wippidsfleet.
A.D. 455. This year Hengest and Horsa fought with Wurtgern the
king on the spot that is called Aylesford. His brother Horsa
being there slain, Hengest afterwards took to the kingdom with
his son Esc.
A.D. 457. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Britons on
the spot that is called Crayford, and there slew four thousand
men. The Britons then forsook the land of Kent, and in great
consternation fled to London.
A.D. 465. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, nigh
Wippedfleet; and there slew twelve leaders, all Welsh. On their
side a thane was there slain, whose name was Wipped.
A.D. 473. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, and
took immense Booty. And the Welsh fled from the English like
A.D. 477. This year came Ella to Britain, with his three sons,
Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a
place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the
Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called
A.D. 482. This year the blessed Abbot Benedict shone in this
world, by the splendour of those virtues which the blessed
Gregory records in the book of Dialogues.
A.D. 485. This year Ella fought with the Welsh nigh Mecred’s-
A.D. 488. This year Esc succeeded to the kingdom; and was king
of the men of Kent twenty-four winters.
A.D. 490. This year Ella and Cissa besieged the city of Andred,
and slew all that were therein; nor was one Briten left there
A.D. 495. This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and
Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called
Cerdic’s-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day. Then
he died, and his son Cynric succeeded to the government, and held
it six and twenty winters. Then he died; and Ceawlin, his son,
succeeded, who reigned seventeen years. Then he died; and Ceol
succeeded to the government, and reigned five years. When he
died, Ceolwulf, his brother, succeeded, and reigned seventeen
years. Their kin goeth to Cerdic. Then succeeded Cynebils,
Ceolwulf’s brother’s son, to the kingdom; and reigned one and
thirty winters. And he first of West-Saxon kings received
baptism. Then succeeded Cenwall, who was the son of Cynegils,
and reigned one and thirty winters. Then held Sexburga, his
queen, the government one year after him. Then succeeded Escwine
to the kingdom, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and held it two years.
Then succeeded Centwine, the son of Cynegils, to the kingdom of
the West-Saxons, and reigned nine years. Then succeeded Ceadwall
to the government, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and held it three
years. Then succeeded Ina to the kingdom of the West-Saxons,
whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned thirty-seven winters.
Then succeeded Ethelheard, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned
sixteen years. Then succeeded Cuthred, whose kin goeth to
Cerdic, and reigned sixteen winters. Then succeeded Sigebriht,
whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned one year. Then succeeded
Cynwulf, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned one and thirty
winters. Then succeeded Brihtric, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and
reigned sixteen years. Then succeeded Egbert to the kingdom, and
held it seven and thirty winters, and seven months. Then
succeeded Ethelwulf, his son, and reigned eighteen years and a
half. Ethelwulf was the son of Egbert, Egbert of Ealmund,
Ealmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa, Eoppa of Ingild, Ingild of Cenred
(Ina of Cenred, Cuthburga of Cenred, and Cwenburga of Cenred),
Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cuthwulf, Cuthwulf of Cuthwine,
Cuthwine of Celm, Celm of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda, Creoda of
Cerdic. Then succeeded Ethelbald, the son of Ethelwulf, to the
kingdom, and held it five years. Then succeeded Ethelbert, his
brother, and reigned five years. Then succeeded Æthelred, his
brother, to the kingdom, and held it five years. Then succeeded
Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed
of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and
ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained
the land of Wessex from the Welsh. And he held the kingdom a
year and a half less than thirty winters. Then succeeded Edward,
the son of Alfred, and reigned twenty-four winters. When he
died, then succeeded Athelstan, his son, and reigned fourteen
years and seven weeks and three days. Then succeeded Edmund, his
brother, and reigned six years and a half, wanting two nights.
Then succeeded Edred, his brother, and reigned nine years and six
weeks. Then succeeded Edwy, the son of Edmund, and reigned three
years and thirty-six weeks, wanting two days. When he died, then
succeeded Edgar, his brother, and reigned sixteen years and eight
weeks and two nights. When he died, then succeeded Edward, the
son of Edgar, and reigned --
A.D. 501. This year Porta and his two sons, Beda and Mela, came
into Britain, with two ships, at a place called Portsmouth. They
soon landed, and slew on the spot a young Briton of very high
A.D. 508. This year Cerdic and Cynric slew a British king, whose
name was Natanleod, and five thousand men with him. After this
was the land named Netley, from him, as far as Charford.
A.D. 509. This year St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all the
monks, 16 ascended to heaven.
A.D. 514. This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with
three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic’s-ore. And Stuff
and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight.
A.D. 519. This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government
of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at
a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the
children of the West-Saxon kings.
A.D. 527. This year Cerdic and Cynric fought with the Britons in
the place that is called Cerdic’s-ley.
A.D. 530. This year Cerdic and Cynric took the isle of Wight,
and slew many men in Carisbrook.
A.D. 534. This year died Cerdic, the first king of the West-
Saxons. Cynric his son succeeded to the government, and reigned
afterwards twenty-six winters. And they gave to their two
nephews, Stuff and Wihtgar, the whole of the Isle of Wight.
A.D. 538. This year the sun was eclipsed, fourteen days before the
March, from before morning until nine.
A.D. 540. This year the sun was eclipsed on the twelfth day
before the calends of July; and the stars showed themselves full
nigh half an hour over nine.
A.D. 544. This year died Wihtgar; and men buried him at
A.D. 547. This year Ida began his reign; from whom first arose
the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of
Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa, Esa of Ingwy, Ingwy of Angenwit, Angenwit of
Alloc, Alloc of Bennoc, Bennoc of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday
of Woden. Woden of Fritholaf, Fritholaf of Frithowulf,
Frithowulf of Finn, Finn of Godolph, Godolph of Geata. Ida
reigned twelve years. He built Bamburgh-Castle, which was first
surrounded with a hedge, and afterwards with a wall.
This year Cynric fought with the Britons on the spot
that is called Sarum, and put them to flight. Cerdic was the
father of Cynric, Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa of Esla,
Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar,
Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden. In this
year Ethelbert, the son of Ermenric, was born, who on the two and
thirtieth year of his reign received the rite of baptism, the
first of all the kings in Britain.
A.D. 556. This year Cynric and Ceawlin fought with the Britons
A.D. 560. This year Ceawlin undertook the government of the
West-Saxons; and Ella, on the death of Ida, that of the
Northumbrians; each of whom reigned thirty winters. Ella was the
son of Iff, Iff of Usfrey, Usfrey of Wilgis, Wilgis of
Westerfalcon, Westerfalcon of Seafowl, Seafowl of Sebbald,
Sebbald of Sigeat, Sigeat of Swaddy, Swaddy of Seagirt, Seagar of
Waddy, Waddy of Woden, Woden of Frithowulf. This year Ethelbert
came to the kingdom of the Cantuarians, and held it fifty-three
winters. In his days the holy Pope Gregory sent us baptism.
That was in the two and thirtieth year of his reign. And
Columba, the mass-priest, came to the Picts, and converted them
to the belief of Christ. They are the dwellers by the northern
moors. And their king gave him the island of Hii, consisting of
five hides, as they say, where Columba built a monastary. There
he was abbot two and thirty winters; and there he died, when he
was seventy-seven years old. The place his successors yet have.
The Southern Picts were long before baptized by Bishop Ninnia,
who was taught at Rome. His church or monastery is at Hwiterne,
hallowed in the name of St. Martin, where he resteth with many
holy men. Now, therefore, shall there be ever in Hii an abbot,
and no bishop; and to him shall be subject all the bishops of the
Scots; because Columba was an abbot -- no bishop.
A.D. 565.* This year Columba the presbyter
came from the Scots among the Britons, to instruct the Picts, and he built a
monastery in the island of Hii.
A.D. 568. This year Ceawlin, and Cutha the brother of Ceawlin,
fought with Ethelbert, and pursued him into Kent. And they slew
two aldermen at Wimbledon, Oslake and Cnebba.
A.D. 571. This year Cuthulf fought with the Britons at Bedford,
and took four towns, Lenbury, Aylesbury, Benson, and Ensham. And
this same year he died.
A.D. 577. This year Cuthwin and Ceawlin fought with the Britons,
and slew three kings, Commail, and Condida, and Farinmail, on the
spot that is called Derham, and took from them three cities,
Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath.
A.D. 583. This year Mauricius succeeded to the empire of the
A.D. 584. This year Ceawlin and Cutha fought with the Britons on
the spot that is called Fretherne. There Cutha was slain. And
Ceawlin took many towns, as well as immense booty and wealth. He
then retreated to his own people.
A.D. 588. This year died King Ella; and Ethelric reigned after
him five years.
A.D. 591. This year there was a great slaughter of Britons at
Wanborough; Ceawlin was driven from his kingdom, and Ceolric
reigned six years.
A.D. 592. This year Gregory succeeded to the papacy at Rome.
A.D. 593. This year died Ceawlin, and Cwichelm, and Cryda; and
Ethelfrith succeeded to the kingdom of the Northumbrians. He was
the son of Ethelric; Ethelric of Ida.
A.D. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain with
very many monks, to preach the word of God to the English people.
A.D. 597. This year began Ceolwulf to reign over the West-
Saxons; and he constantly fought and conquered, either with the
Angles, or the Welsh, or the Picts, or the Scots. He was the son
of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic, Cerdic of Elesa,
Elesa of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar,
Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, and Balday of Woden. This
year came Augustine and his companions to
This year Pope Gregory sent the pall to Archbishop
Augustine in Britain, with very many learned doctors to assist
him; and Bishop Paulinus converted Edwin, king of the
Northumbrians, to baptism.
A.D. 603. This year Aeden, king of the Scots, fought with the
Dalreathians, and with Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, at
Theakstone; where he lost almost all his army. Theobald also,
brother of Ethelfrith, with his whole armament, was slain. None
of the Scottish kings durst afterwards bring an army against this
nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the army thither.
A.D. 603.* This year Aethan, King of the Scots, fought against
the Dalreods and against Ethelfrith, king of the North-humbrians,
at Daegsanstane [Dawston?], and they slew almost all his army.
There Theodbald, Ethelfrith’s brother, was slain with all his
band. Since then no king of the Scots has dared to lead an army
against this nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the enemy
A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus
and Justus. Mellitus he sent to preach baptism to the East-
Saxons. Their king was called Seabert, the son of Ricola,
Ethelbert’s sister, whom Ethelbert placed there as king.
Ethelbert also gave Mellitus the bishopric of London; and to
Justus he gave the bishopric of Rochester, which is twenty-four
miles from Canterbury.
A.D. 604.* This year Augustine
consecrated two bishops,
Mellitus and Justus. He sent Mellitus to preach baptism to the
East-Saxons, whose king was called Sebert, son of Ricole, the
sister of Ethelbert, and whom Ethelbert had there appointed king.
And Ethelbert gave Mellitus a bishop’s see in London, and to
Justus he gave Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from
A.D. 606. This year died Gregory; about ten years since he sent
us baptism. His father was called Gordianus, and his mother Silvia.
A.D. 607. This year Ceolwulf fought with the South-Saxons. And
Ethelfrith led his army to Chester; where he slew an innumerable
host of the Welsh; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of
Augustine, wherein he saith “If the Welsh will not have peace
with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons.” There
were also slain two hundred priests, 18
who came thither to
pray for the army of the Welsh. Their leader was called
Brocmail, who with some fifty men escaped thence.
A.D. 611. This year Cynegils succeeded to the government in
Wessex, and held it one and thirty winters. Cynegils was the son
of Ceol, Ceol of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric.
A.D. 614. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at Bampton, and
slew two thousand and forty-six of the Welsh.
A.D. 616. This year died Ethelbert, king of Kent, the first of
English kings that received baptism: he was the son of Ermenric.
He reigned fifty-six winters, and was succeeded by his son
Eadbald. And in this same year had elapsed from the beginning of
the world five thousand six hundred and eighteen winters. This
Eadbald renounced his baptism, and lived in a heathen manner; so
that he took to wife the relict of his father. Then Laurentius,
who was archbishop in Kent, meant to depart southward over sea,
and abandon everything. But there came to him in the night the
apostle Peter, and severely chastised
him, 19 because he would
so desert the flock of God. And he charged him to go to the
king, and teach him the right belief. And he did so; and the
king returned to the right belief. In this king’s days the same
Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent after Augustine, departed
this life on the second of February, and was buried near
Augustine. The holy Augustine in his lifetime invested him
bishop, to the end that the church of Christ, which yet was new
in England, should at no time after his decease be without an
archbishop. After him Mellitus, who was first Bishop of London,
succeeded to the archbishopric. The people of London, where
Mellitus was before, were then heathens: and within five winters
of this time, during the reign of Eadbald, Mellitus died. To him
succeeded Justus, who was Bishop of Rochester, whereto he
consecrated Romanus bishop.
A.D. 616.* In that time Laurentius was archbishop, and for the
sorrowfulness which he had on account of the king’s unbelief he
was minded to forsake this country entirely, and go over sea; but
St. Peter the apostle scourged him sorely one night, because he
wished thus to forsake the flock of God, and commanded him to
teach boldly the true faith to the king; and he did so, and the
king turned to the right (faith). In the days of this same king,
Eadbald, this Laurentius died. The holy Augustine, while yet in
sound health, ordained him bishop, in order that the community of
Christ, which was yet new in England, should not after his
decease be at any time without an archbishop. After him
Mellitus, who had been previously Bishop of London, succeeded to
the archbishopric. And within five years of the decease of
Laurentius, while Eadbald still reigned, Mellitus departed to Christ.
A.D. 617. This year was Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians,
slain by Redwald, king of the East-Angles; and Edwin, the son of
Ella, having succeeded to the kingdom, subdued all Britain,
except the men of Kent alone, and drove out the Ethelings, the
sons of Ethelfrith: [that was first] namely, Eanfrith, [then] Oswald and Oswy, Oslac, Oswudu,
Oslaf and Offa.
A.D. 624. This year died Archbishop Mellitus.
A.D. 625. This year Paulinus was invested bishop of the
Northumbrians, by Archbishop Justus, on the twelfth day before
the calends of August.
A.D. 625.* This year Archbishop Justus consecrated Paulinus
bishop of the North-humbrians.
A.D. 626. This year came Eamer from Cwichelm, king of the West-
Saxons, with a design to assassinate King Edwin; but he killed
Lilla his thane, and Forthere, and wounded the king. The same
night a daughter was born to Edwin, whose name was Eanfleda.
Then promised the king to Paulinus, that he would devote his
daughter to God, if he would procure at the hand of God, that he
might destroy his enemy, who had sent the assassin to him. He
then advanced against the West-Saxons with an army, felled on the
spot five kings, and slew many of their men. This year Eanfleda,
the daughter of King Edwin, was baptized, on the holy eve of
Pentecost. And the king within twelve months was baptized, at
Easter, with all his people. Easter was then on the twelfth of
April. This was done at York, where he had ordered a church to
be built of timber, which was hallowed in the name of St. Peter.
There the king gave the bishopric to Paulinus; and there he
afterwards ordered a larger church to be built of stone. This
year Penda began to reign; and reigned thirty winters. He had
seen fifty winters when he began to reign. Penda was the son of
Wybba, Wybba of Creoda, Creoda of Cynewald, Cynewald of Cnebba,
Cnebba of Icel, Icel of Eomer, Eomer of Angelthew, Angelthew of
Offa, Offa of Wearmund, Wearmund of Whitley, Whitley of Woden.
A.D. 627. This year was King Edwin baptized at Easter, with all
his people, by Paulinus, who also preached baptism in Lindsey,
where the first person who believed was a certain rich man, of
the name of Bleek, with all his people. At this time Honorius
succeeded Boniface in the papacy, and sent hither to Paulinus the
pall; and Archbishop Justus having departed this life on the
tenth of November, Honorius was consecrated at Lincoln Archbishop
of Canterbury by Paulinus; and Pope Honorius sent him the pall.
And he sent an injunction to the Scots, that they should return
to the right celebration of Easter.
A.D. 627.* This year, at Easter, Paulinus baptized Edwin king
of the North-humbrians, with his people; and earlier within the
same year, at Pentecost, he had baptized Eanfled, daughter of the
A.D. 628. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought with Penda at
Cirencester, and afterwards entered into a treaty there.
A.D. 632. This year was Orpwald baptized.
A.D. 633. This year King Edwin was slain by Cadwalla and Penda,
on Hatfield moor, on the fourteenth of October. He reigned
seventeen years. His son Osfrid was also slain with him. After
this Cadwalla and Penda went and ravaged all the land of the
Northumbrians; which when Paulinus saw, he took Ethelburga, the
relict of Edwin, and went by ship to Kent. Eadbald and Honorius
received him very honourably, and gave him the bishopric of
Rochester, where he continued to his death.
A.D. 634. This year Osric, whom Paulinus baptized, succeeded to
the government of Deira. He was the son of Elfric, the uncle of
Edwin. And to Bernicia succeeded Eanfrith, son of Ethelfrith.
This year also Bishop Birinus first preached baptism to the West-
Saxons, under King Cynegils. The said Birinus went thither by
the command of Pope Honorius; and he was bishop there to the end
of his life. Oswald also this year succeeded to the government
of the Northumbrians, and reigned nine winters. The ninth year
was assigned to him on account of the heathenism in which those
lived who reigned that one year betwixt him and Edwin.
A.D. 635. This year King Cynegils was baptized by Bishop Birinus
at Dorchester; and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was his
A.D. 636. This year King Cwichelm was baptized at Dorchester,
and died the same year. Bishop Felix also preached to the East-
Angles the belief of Christ.
A.D. 639. This year Birinus baptized King Cuthred at Dorchester,
and received him as his son.
A.D. 640. This year died Eadbald, King of Kent, after a reign of
twenty-five winters. He had two sons, Ermenred and Erkenbert;
and Erkenbert reigned there after his father. He overturned all
the idols in the kingdom, and first of English kings appointed a
fast before Easter. His daughter was called Ercongota -- holy
damsel of an illustrious sire! whose mother was Sexburga, the
daughter of Anna, king of the East-Angles. Ermenred also begat
two sons, who were afterwards martyred by Thunnor.
A.D. 642. This year Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain
by Penda, king of the Southumbrians, at Mirfield, on the fifth
day of August; and his body was buried at Bardney. His holiness
and miracles were afterwards displayed on manifold occasions
throughout this island; and his hands remain still uncorrupted at
Barnburgh. The same year in which Oswald was slain, Oswy his
brother succeeded to the government of the Northumbrians, and
reigned two less than thirty years.
A.D. 643. This year Kenwal succeeded to the kingdom of the West-
Saxons, and held it one and thirty winters. This Kenwal ordered
the old 20 church
at Winchester to be built in the name of St. Peter. He was the son of Cynegils.
A.D. 644. This year died at Rochester, on the tenth of October,
Paulinus, who was first Archbishop at York, and afterwards at
Rochester. He was bishop nineteen winters, two months, and one
and twenty days. This year the son of Oswy’s uncle (Oswin), the
son of Osric, assumed the government of Deira, and reigned seven
A.D. 645. This year King Kenwal was driven from his dominion by
A.D. 646. This year King Kenwal was baptized.
A.D. 648. This year Kenwal gave his relation Cuthred three
thousand hides of land by Ashdown. Cuthred was the son of
Cwichelm, Cwichelm of Cynegils.
A.D. 650. This year Egelbert, from Gaul, after Birinus the
Romish bishop, obtained the bishopric of the West-Saxons.
A.D. 650.* This year Birinus the bishop died,
and Agilbert the Frenchman was ordained.
A.D. 651. This year King Oswin was slain, on the twentieth day
of August; and within twelve nights afterwards died Bishop Aidan,
on the thirty-first of August.
A.D. 652. This year Kenwal fought at Bradford by the Avon.
A.D. 653. This year, the Middle-Angles under alderman Peada
received the right belief.
A.D. 654. This year King Anna was slain, and Botolph began to
build that minster at Icanhoe. This year also died Archbishop
Honorius, on the thirtieth of September.
A.D. 655. This year Penda was slain at Wingfield, and thirty
royal personages with him, some of whom were kings. One of them
was Ethelhere, brother of Anna, king of the East-Angles. The
Mercians after this became Christians. From the beginning of the
world had now elapsed five thousand eight hundred and fifty
winters, when Peada, the son of Penda, assumed the government of
the Mercians. In his time came together himself and Oswy,
brother of King Oswald, and said, that they would rear a minster
to the glory of Christ, and the honour of St. Peter. And they
did so, and gave it the name of Medhamsted; because there is a
well there, called Meadswell. And they began the groundwall, and
wrought thereon; after which they committed the work to a monk,
whose name was Saxulf. He was very much the friend of God, and
him also loved all people. He was nobly born in the world, and
rich: he is now much richer with Christ. But King Peada reigned
no while; for he was betrayed by his own queen, in Easter-tide.
This year Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester, consecrated Deus-dedit to
Canterbury, on the twenty-sixth day of March.
A.D. 656. This year was Peada slain; and Wulfhere, son of Penda,
succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians. In his time waxed the
abbey of Medhamsted very rich, which his brother had begun. The
king loved it much, for the love of his brother Peada, and for
the love of his wed-brother Oswy, and for the love of Saxulf the
abbot. He said, therefore, that he would dignify and honour it
by the counsel of his brothers, Æthelred and Merwal; and by the
counsel of his sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha; and by the
counsel of the archbishop, who was called Deus-dedit; and by the
counsel of all his peers, learned and lewd, that in his kingdom
were. And he so did. Then sent the king after the abbot, that
he should immediately come to him. And he so did. Then said the
king to the abbot: “Beloved Saxulf, I have sent after thee for
the good of my soul; and I will plainly tell thee for why. My
brother Peada and my beloved friend Oswy began a minster, for the
love of Christ and St. Peter: but my brother, as Christ willed,
is departed from this life; I will therefore intreat thee,
beloved friend, that they earnestly proceed on their work; and I
will find thee thereto gold and silver, land and possessions, and
all that thereto behoveth.” Then went the abbot home, and began
to work. So he sped, as Christ permitted him; so that in a few
years was that minster ready. Then, when the king heard say
that, he was very glad; and bade men send through all the nation,
after all his thanes; after the archbishop, and after bishops:
and after his earls; and after all those that loved God; that
they should come to him. And he fixed the day when men should
hallow the minster. And when they were hallowing the minster,
there was the king, Wulfere, and his brother Æthelred, and his
sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha. And the minster was hallowed
by Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury; and the Bishop of
Rochester, Ithamar; and the Bishop of London, who was called
Wina; and the Bishop of the Mercians, whose name was Jeruman; and
Bishop Tuda. And there was Wilfrid, priest, that after was
bishop; and there were all his thanes that were in his kingdom.
When the minster was hallowed, in the name of St. Peter, and St.
Paul, and St. Andrew, then stood up the king before all his
thanes, and said with a loud voice: “Thanks be to the high
almighty God for this worship that here is done; and I will this
day glorify Christ and St. Peter, and I will that you all confirm
my words. -- I Wulfere give to-day to St. Peter, and the Abbot
Saxulf, and the monks of the minster, these lands, and these
waters, and meres, and fens, and weirs, and all the lands that
thereabout lye, that are of my kingdom, freely, so that no man
have there any ingress, but the abbot and the monks. This is the
gift. From Medhamsted to Northborough; and so to the place that
is called Foleys; and so all the fen, right to Ashdike; and from
Ashdike to the place called Fethermouth; and so in a right line
ten miles long to Ugdike; and so to Ragwell; and from Ragwell
five miles to the main river that goeth to Elm and to Wisbeach;
and so about three miles to Trokenholt; and from Trokenholt right
through all the fen to Derworth; that is twenty miles long; and
so to Great Cross; and from Great Cross through a clear water
called Bradney; and thence six miles to Paxlade; and so forth
through all the meres and fens that lye toward Huntingdon-port;
and the meres and lakes Shelfermere and Wittlesey mere, and all
the others that thereabout lye; with land and with houses that
are on the east side of Shelfermere; thence all the fens to
Medhamsted; from Medhamsted all to Welmsford; from Welmsford to
Clive; thence to Easton; from Easton to Stamford; from Stamford
as the water runneth to the aforesaid Northborough.” -- These are
the lands and the fens that the king gave unto St. Peter’s
minster. -- Then quoth the king: “It is little -- this gift --
but I will that they hold it so royally and so freely, that there
be taken there from neither gild nor gable, but for the monks
alone. Thus I will free this minster; that it be not subject
except to Rome alone; and hither I will that we seek St. Peter,
all that to Rome cannot go.” During these words the abbot
desired that he would gant him his request. And the king granted
it. “I have here (said he) some good monks that would lead their
life in retirement, if they wist where. Now here is an island,
that is called Ankerig; and I will request, that we may there
build a minster to the honour of St. Mary; that they may dwell
there who will lead their lives in peace and tranquillity.” Then
answered the king, and quoth thus: “Beloved Saxulf, not that only
which thou desirest, but all things that I know thou desirest in
our Lord’s behalf, so I approve, and grant. And I bid thee,
brother Æthelred, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, for
the release of your souls, that you be witnesses, and that you
subscribe it with your fingers. And I pray all that come after
me, be they my sons, be they my brethren, or kings that come
after me, that our gift may stand; as they would be partakers of
the life everlasting, and as they would avoid everlasting
punishment. Whoso lesseneth our gift, or the gift of other good
men, may the heavenly porter lessen him in the kingdom of heaven;
and whoso advanceth it, may the heavenly porter advance him in
the kingdom of heaven.” These are the witnesses that were there,
and that subscribed it with their fingers on the cross of Christ,
and confirmed it with their tongues. That was, first the king,
Wulfere, who confirmed it first with his word, and afterwards
wrote with his finger on the cross of Christ, saying thus: “I
Wulfere, king, in the presence of kings, and of earls, and of
captains, and of thanes, the witnesses of my gift, before the
Archbishop Deus-dedit, I confirm it with the cross of Christ.”
(+) -- “And I Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, the friend of this
minster, and of the Abbot Saxulf, commend it with the cross of
Christ.” (+) -- “And I Sighere, king, ratify it with the cross of
Christ.” (+) -- “And I Sibbi, king, subscribe it with the cross
of Christ.” (+) -- “And I Æthelred, the king’s brother, granted
the same with the cross of Christ.” (+) -- “And we, the king’s
sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, approve it.” -- “And I
Archbishop of Canterbury, Deus-dedit, ratify it.” -- Then
confirmed it all the others that were there with the cross of
Christ (+): namely, Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester; Wina, Bishop of
London; Jeruman, Bishop of the Mercians; and Tuda, bishop; and
Wilfrid, priest, who was afterwards bishop; and Eoppa, priest,
whom the king, Wulfere, sent to preach christianity in the Isle
of Wight; and Saxulf, abbot; and Immine, alderman, and Edbert,
alderman, and Herefrith, alderman, and Wilbert, alderman, and
Abo, alderman; Ethelbald, Brord, Wilbert, Elmund, Frethegis.
These, and many others that were there, the king’s most loyal
subjects, confirmed it all. This charter was written after our
Lord’s Nativity 664 -- the seventh year of King Wulfere -- the
ninth year of Archbishop Deus-dedir. Then they laid God’s curse,
and the curse of all saints, and all christian folks, on
whosoever undid anything that there was done. “So be it,” saith
all. “Amen.” -- When this thing was done, then sent the king to
Rome to the Pope Vitalianus that then was, and desired, that he
would ratify with his writ and with his blessing, all this
aforesaid thing. And the pope then sent his writ, thus saying:
“I Vitalianus, pope, grant thee, King Wulfere, and Deus-dedit,
archbishop, and Abbot Saxulf, all the things that you desire.
And I forbid, that any king, or any man, have any ingress, but
the abbot alone; nor shall he be Subject to any man, except the
Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If any one
breaketh anything of this, St. Peter with his sword destroy him.
Whosoever holdeth it, St. Peter with heaven’s key undo him the
kingdom of heaven.” -- Thus was the minster of Medhamsted begun,
that was afterwards called Peter-borough. Afterwards came
another archbishop to Canterbury, who was called Theodorus; a
very good man and wise; and held his synod with his bishops and
with his clerk. There was Wilfrid, bishop of the Mercians,
deprived of his bishopric; and Saxulf, abbot, was there chosen
bishop; and Cuthbald, monk of the same minster, was chosen abbot.
This synod was holden after our Lord’s Nativity six hundred and
A.D. 658. This year Kenwal fought with the Welsh at Pen, and
pursued them to the Parret. This battle was fought after his
return from East-Anglia, where he was three years in exile.
Penda had driven him thither and deprived him of his kingdom,
because he had discarded his sister.
A.D. 660. This year Bishop Egelbert departed from Kenwal; and
Wina held the bishopric three years. And Egbert accepted the
bishopric of Paris, in Gaul, by the Seine.
A.D. 661. This year, at Easter, Kenwal fought at Pontesbury; and
Wulfere, the son of Penda, pursued him as far as Ashdown.
Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm, and King Kenbert, died in one year.
Into the Isle of Wight also Wulfere, the son of Penda,
penetrated, and transferred the inhabitants to Æthelwald, king of
the South-Saxons, because Wulfere adopted him in baptism. And
Eoppa, a mass-priest, by command of Wilfrid and King Wulfere, was
the first of men who brought baptism to the people of the Isle of Wight.
A.D. 664. This year the sun was eclipsed, on the eleventh of
May; and Erkenbert, King of Kent, having died, Egbert his son
succeeded to the kingdom. Colman with his companions this year
returned to his own country. This same year there was a great
plague in the island Britain, in which died
who was buried at Wayleigh. And
Ceadda and Wilfrid
were ordained, and in the same year Archbishop Deusdedit died.
A.D. 667. This year Oswy and Egbert sent Wighard, a priest, to
Rome, that he might be consecrated there Archbishop of
Canterbury; but he died as soon as he came thither.
A.D. 667.* This year Wighard went to Rome, even as King Oswy,
and Egbert had sent him.
A.D. 668. This year Theodore was consecrated archbishop, and
sent into Britain.
A.D. 669. This year King Egbert gave to Bass, a mass-priest,
Reculver -- to build a minster upon.
A.D. 670. This year died Oswy, King of Northumberland, on the
fifteenth day before the calends of March; and Egferth his son
reigned after him. Lothere, the nephew of Bishop Egelbert,
succeeded to the bishopric over the land of the West-Saxons, and
held it seven years. He was consecrated by Archbishop Theodore.
Oswy was the son of Ethelfrith, Ethelfrith of Ethelric, Ethelric
of Ida, Ida of Eoppa.
A.D. 671. This year happened that great destruction among the
A.D. 672. This year died King Cenwal; and Sexburga his queen
held the government one year after him.
A.D. 673. This year died Egbert, King of Kent; and the same year
there was a synod at Hertford; and St. Etheldritha began that
monastery at Ely.
A.D. 674. This year Escwin succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex.
He was the son of Cenfus, Cenfus of Cenferth, Cenferth of
Cuthgils, Cuthgils of Ceolwulf, Ceolwulf of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic.
A.D. 675. This year Wulfere, the son of Penda, and Escwin, the
son of Cenfus, fought at Bedwin. The same year died Wulfere, and
Æthelred succeeded to the government. In his time sent he to
Rome Bishop Wilfrid to the pope that then was, called Agatho, and
told him by word and by letter, how his brothers Peada and
Wulfere, and the Abbot Saxulf, had wrought a minster, called
Medhamsted; and that they had freed it, against king and against
bishop, from every service; and he besought him that he would
confirm it with his writ and with his blessing. And the pope
sent then his writ to England, thus saying: “I Agatho, Pope of
Rome, greet well the worthy Æthelred, king of the Mercians, and
the Archbishop Theodorus of Canterbury, and Saxulf, the bishop of
the Mercians, who before was abbot, and all the abbots that are
in England; God’s greeting and my blessing. I have heard the
petition of King Æthelred, and of the Archbishop Theodorus, and
of the Bishop Saxulf, and of the Abbot Cuthbald; and I will it,
that it in all wise be as you have spoken it. And I ordain, in
behalf of God, and of St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every
hooded head, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man
whatever, have any claim, or gable, or gild, or levy, or take any
service of any kind, from the abbey of Medhamsted. I command
also, that no shire-bishop be so bold as to hold an ordination or
consecration within this abbacy, except the abbot intreat him,
nor have there any claim to proxies, or synodals, or anything
whatever of any kind. And I will, that the abbot be holden for
legate of Rome over all that island; and whatever abbot is there
chosen by the monks that he be consecrated by the Archbishop of
Canterbury. I will and decree, that, whatever man may have made
a vow to go to Rome, and cannot perform it, either from
infirmity, or for his lord’s need, or from poverty, or from any
other necessity of any kind whatever, whereby he cannot come
thither, be he of England, or of whatever other island he be, he
may come to that minster of Medhamsted, and have the same
forgiveness of Christ and St. Peter, and of the abbot, and of the
monks, that he should have if he went to Rome. Now bid I thee,
brother Theodorus, that thou let it be proclaimed through all
England, that a synod be gathered, and this writ be read and
observed. Also I tell thee, Bishop Saxulf, that, as thou
desirest it, that the minster be free, so I forbid thee, and all
the bishops that after thee come, from Christ and from all his
saints, that ye have no demand from that minster, except so much
as the abbot will. Now will I say in a word, that, whoso holdeth
this writ and this decree, then be he ever dwelling with God
Almighty in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso breaketh it, then
be he excommunicated, and thrust down with Judas, and with all
the devils in hell, except he come to repentance. Amen!” This
writ sent the Pope Agatho, and a hundred and twenty-five bishops,
by Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, to England. This was done after
our Lord’s Nativity 680, the sixth year of King Æthelred. Then
the king commanded the Archbishop Theodorus, that he should
appoint a general Wittenmoot at the place called Hatfield. When
they were there collected, then he allowed the letter to be read
that the pope sent thither; and all ratified and confirmed it.
Then said the king: “All things that my brother Peada, and my
brother Wulfere, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, gave
and granted to St. Peter and the abbot, these I will may stand;
and I will in my day increase it, for their souls and for my
soul. Now give I St. Peter to-day into his minster, Medhamsted,
these lands, and all that thereto lyeth; that is, Bredon,
Repings, Cadney, Swineshead, Hanbury, Lodeshall, Scuffanhall,
Cosford, Stratford, Wattleburn, Lushgard, Ethelhun-island,
Bardney. These lands I give St. Peter just as freely as I
possessed them myself; and so, that none of my successors take
anything therefrom. Whoso doeth it, have he the curse of the
Pope of Rome, and the curse of all bishops, and of all those that
are witnesses here. And this I confirm with the token of
Christ.” (+) “I Theodorus, Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness
to this charter of Medhamsted; and I ratify it with my hand, and
I excommunicate all that break anything thereof; and I bless all
that hold it.” (+) “I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, am witness to
this charter; and I ratify this same curse.” (+) “I Saxulf, who
was first abbot, and now am bishop, I give my curse, and that of
all my successors, to those who break this.” -- “I Ostritha,
Æthelred’s queen, confirm it.” -- “I Adrian, legate, ratify it.”
-- “I Putta, Bishop of Rochester, subscribe it.” -- “I Waldhere,
Bishop of London, confirm it.” -- “I Cuthbald, abbot, ratify it;
so that, whoso breaketh it, have he the cursing of all bishops
and of all christian folk. Amen.”
A.D. 676. This year, in which Hedda succeeded to his bishopric,
Escwin died; and Centwin obtained the government of the West-
Saxons. Centwin was the son of Cynegils, Cynegils of Ceolwulf.
Æthelred, king of the Mercians, in the meantime, overran the land
A.D. 678. This year appeared the comet-star in August, and shone
every morning, during three months, like a sunbeam. Bishop
Wilfrid being driven from his bishopric by King Everth, two
bishops were consecrated in his stead, Bosa over the Deirians,
and Eata over the Bernicians. About the same time also Eadhed
was consecrated bishop over the people of Lindsey, being the
first in that division.
A.D. 679. This year Elwin was slain, by the river Trent, on the
spot where Everth and Æthelred fought. This year also died St.
Etheldritha; and the monastery of Coldingiham was destroyed by
fire from heaven.
A.D. 680. This year Archbishop Theodore appointed a synod at
Hatfield; because he was desirous of rectifying the belief of
Christ; and the same year died Hilda, Abbess of Whitby.
A.D. 681. This year Trumbert was consecrated Bishop of Hexham,
and Trumwin bishop of the Picts; for they were at that time
subject to this country. This year also Centwin pursued the
Britons to the sea.
A.D. 684. This year Everth sent an army against the Scots, under
the command of his alderman, Bright, who lamentably plundered and
burned the churches of God.
A.D. 685. This year King Everth commanded Cuthbert to be
consecrated a bishop; and Archbishop Theodore, on the first day
of Easter, consecrated him at York Bishop of Hexham; for Trumbert
had been deprived of that see. The same year Everth was slain by
the north sea, and a large army with him, on the thirteenth day
before the calends of June. He continued king fifteen winters;
and his brother Elfrith succeeded him in the government. Everth
was the son of Oswy. Oswy of Ethelferth, Ethelferth of Ethelric,
Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa. About this time Ceadwall began to
struggle for a kingdom. Ceadwall was the son of Kenbert, Kenbert
of Chad, Chad of Cutha, Cutha of Ceawlin, Ceawlin of Cynric,
Cynric of Cerdic. Mull, who was afterwards consigned to the
flames in Kent, was the brother of Ceadwall. The same year died
Lothhere, King of Kent; and John was consecrated Bishop of
Hexham, where he remained till Wilferth was restored, when John
was translated to York on the death of Bishop Bosa. Wilferth his
priest was afterwards consecrated Bishop of York, and John
retired to his monastery 21 in
the woods of Delta. This year there was in Britain a bloody rain,
and milk and butter were turned to blood.
A.D. 685.* And in this same year Cuthbert was consecrated
Bishop of Hexham by Archbishop Theodore at York, because Bishop
Tumbert had been driven from the bishopric.
A.D. 686. This year Ceadwall and his brother Mull spread
devastation in Kent and the Isle of Wight. This same Ceadwall
gave to St. Peter’s minster, at Medhamsted, Hook; which is
situated in an island called Egborough. Egbald at this time was
abbot, who was the third after Saxulf; and Theodore was
archbishop in Kent.
A.D. 687. This year was Mull consigned to the flames in Kent,
and twelve other men with him; after which, in the same year,
Ceadwall overran the kingdom of Kent.
A.D. 688. This year Ceadwall went to Rome, and received baptism
at the hands of Sergius the pope, who gave him the name of Peter;
but in the course of seven nights afterwards, on the twelfth day
before the calends of May, he died in his crisom-cloths, and was
buried in the church of St. Peter. To him succeeded Ine in the
kingdom of Wessex, and reigned thirty-seven winters. He founded
the monastery of Glastonbury; after which he went to Rome, and
continued there to the end of his life. Ine was the son of
Cenred, Cenred of Ceolwald; Ceolwald was the brother of Cynegils;
and both were the sons of Cuthwine, the son of Ceawlin;
Ceawlin was the son of Cynric, and Cynric of Cerdic.
A.D. 688.* This
year King Caedwalla went to Rome, and received baptism of Pope Sergius, and he gave him the name
of Peter, and in about seven days afterwards, on the twelfth before the kalends of May, he passed away under the
clothes of Christ
and he was buried within St. Peter’s church. And Ine succeeded to the kingdom of the West-Saxons
after him, and ruled twenty-seven years.
A.D. 690. This year Archbishop Theodore, who had been bishop twenty-two winters, departed this life,
22 and was
buried within the city of Canterbury. Berhtwald, who before this was
abbot of Reculver, on the calends of July succeeded him in the
see; which was ere this filled by Romish bishops, but henceforth
with English. Then were there two kings in Kent, Wihtred and
A.D. 693. This year was Bertwald consecrated archbishop by
Godwin, bishop of the Gauls, on the fifth day before
the nones of
July; about which time died Gifmund, who was Bishop of Rochester; and
Archbishop Bertwald consecrated Tobias in his stead. This
year also Dryhtelm 23
retired from the world.
A.D. 694. This year the people of Kent covenanted with Ina, and
gave him 30,000 pounds in friendship, because they had burned his
brother Mull. Wihtred, who succeeded to the kingdom of Kent, and
held it thirty-three winters, was the son of Egbert, Egbert of
Erkenbert, Erkenbert of Eadbald, Eadbald of Ethelbert. And as
soon as he was king, he ordained a great council to meet in the
place that is called Bapchild; in which presided Wihtred, King of
Kent, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Brihtwald, and Bishop Tobias
of Rochester; and with him were collected abbots and abbesses,
and many wise men, all to consult about the advantage of God’s
churches that are in Kent. Now began the king to speak, and
said, “I will that all the minsters and the churches, that were
given and bequeathed to the worship of God in the days of
believing kings, my predecessors, and in the days of my relations
of King Ethelbert and of those that followed him -- shall so
remain to the worship of God, and stand fast for evermore. For I
Wihtred, earthly king, urged on by the heavenly king, and with
the spirit of righteousness annealed, have of our progenitors
learned this, that no layman should have any right to possess
himself of any church or of any of the things that belong to the
church. And, therefore, strongly and truly, we set and decree,
and in the name of Almighty God, and of all saints, we forbid all
our succeeding kings, and aldermen, and all lawmen, ever, any
lordship over churches, and over all their appurtenances, which I
or my elders in old days have given for a perpetual inheritance
to the glory of Christ and our Lady St. Mary, and the holy
apostles. And look! when it happeneth, that bishop, or abbot,
or abbess, depart from this life, be it told the archbishop, and
with his counsel and injunction be chosen such as be worthy. And
the life of him, that shall be chosen to so holy a thing, let the
archbishop examine, and his cleanness; and in no wise be chosen
any one, or to so holy a thing consecrated, without the
archbishop’s counsel. Kings shall appoint earls, and aldermen,
sheriffs, and judges; but the archbishop shall consult and
provide for God’s flock: bishops, and abbots, and abbesses, and
priests, and deacons, he shall choose and appoint; and also
sanctify and confirm with good precepts and example, lest that
any of God’s flock go astray and perish --”
A.D. 697. This year the Southumbrians slew Ostritha, the queen
of Æthelred, the sister of Everth.
A.D. 699. This year the Picts slew Alderman Burt.
A.D. 702. This year Kenred assumed the government of the
A.D. 703. This year died Bishop Hedda, having held the see of
Winchester twenty-seven winters.
A.D. 704. This year Æthelred, the son of Penda, King of Mercia,
entered into a monastic life, having reigned twenty-nine winters;
and Cenred succeeded to the government.
A.D. 705. This year died Ealdferth, king of the Northumbrians,
on the nineteenth day before the calends of January, at Driffield; and was succeeded by his son Osred.
also died the same year.
A.D. 709. This year died Aldhelm, who was bishop by Westwood.
The land of the West-Saxons was divided into two bishoprics in
the first days of Bishop Daniel; who held one whilst Aldhelm held
the other. Before this it was only one. Forthere succeeded to
Aldhelm; and Ceolred succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia. And
Cenred went to Rome; and Offa with him. And Cenred was there to
the end of his life. The same year died Bishop Wilferth, at
Oundle, but his body was carried to Ripon. He was the bishop
whom King Everth compelled to go to Rome.
A.D. 710. This
year Acca, priest of Wilferth, succeeded to the
bishopric that Wilferth ere held; and Alderman Bertfrith fought
with the Picts between Heugh and Carau. Ina also, and Nun his
relative, fought with Grant, king of the Welsh; and the same year
Hibbald was slain.
A.D. 714. This year died Guthlac the holy, and King Pepin.
A.D. 715. This year Ina and Ceolred fought at
and King Dagobert departed this life.
A.D. 716. This year Osred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain near the southern
He reigned eleven winters after Ealdferth. Cenred then succeeded to the government, and held it
two years; then Osric, who held it eleven years. This same year
died Ceolred, king of the Mercians. His body lies at Lichfield;
but that of Æthelred, the son of Penda, at Bardney. Ethelbald
then succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia, and held it one and
forty winters. Ethelbald was the son of Alwy, Alwy of Eawa, Eawa
of Webba, whose genealogy is already written. The venerable
Egbert about this time converted the monks of Iona to the right
faith, in the regulation of Easter, and the ecclesiastical
A.D. 718. This year died Ingild, the brother of Ina. Cwenburga
and Cuthburga were their sisters. Cuthburga reared the monastery
of Wimburn; and, though given in marriage to Ealdferth, King of
Northumberland, they parted during their lives.
A.D. 721. This year Bishop
went to Rome; and the same year Ina slew Cynewulf, the etheling. This year also died the holy Bishop John; who was bishop
thirty-three years, and eight months, and thirteen days. His body now resteth at Beverley.
A.D. 722. This year Queen Ethelburga destroyed Taunton, which Ina had formerly built; Ealdbert wandered a wretched exile in
Surrey and Sussex; and Ina fought with the South-Saxons.
A.D. 725. This year died Wihtred, King of Kent, on the ninth day before the calends of May, after a reign of thirty-two winters.
His pedigree is above; and he was succeeded by Eadbert. Ina this year also fought with the South-Saxons, and slew Ealdbert, the
etheling, whom he had before driven into exile.
A.D. 727. This year died Tobias, Bishop of Rochester: and Archbishop Bertwald consecrated Aldulf bishop in his stead.
A.D. 728. This year 26 Ine went to Rome, and there gave up
his life. He was succeeded in the kingdom of Wessex by Ethelhard his relative, who held it fourteen years; but he fought this same
year with Oswald the etheling. Oswald was the son of Ethelbald, Ethelbald of Cynebald, Cynebald of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Ceawlin.
A.D. 729. This year appeared the comet-star, and St. Egbert died
in Iona. This year also died the etheling Oswald; and Osric was
slain, who was eleven winters king of Northumberland; to which
kingdom Ceolwulf succeeded, and held it eight years. The said
Ceolwulf was the son of Cutha, Cutha of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of
Leodwald, Leodwald of Egwald, Egwald of Ealdhelm, Ealdhelm of
Occa, Occa of Ida, Ida of Eoppa. Archbishop Bertwald died this year on the
ides of January.
He was bishop thirty-seven winters,
and six months, and fourteen days. The same year Tatwine, who
was before a priest at Bredon in Mercia, was consecrated
archbishop by Daniel Bishop of Winchester, Ingwald Bishop of
London, Aldwin Bishop of Lichfield, and Aldulf Bishop of
Rochester, on the tenth day of June. He enjoyed the
archbishopric about three years.
A.D. 729.* And the same year Osric
died; he was king eleven
years; then Ceolwulf succeeded to the kingdom, and held it eight years.
A.D. 733. This year Ethelbald took Somerton; the sun was eclipsed;
and Acca was driven from his bishopric.
A.D. 734. This year was the moon as if covered with blood; and
Archbishop Tatwine and Bede departed this life; and Egbert was
A.D. 735. This year Bishop Egbert received the pall at Rome.
A.D. 736. This year Archbishop Nothelm received the pall from
the bishop of the Romans.
A.D. 737. This year Bishop Forthere and Queen Frithogitha went
to Rome; and King Ceolwulf received the clerical tonsure, giving
his kingdom to Edbert, his uncle’s son: who reigned one and
twenty winters. Bishop Ethelwold and Acca died this year, and
Cynewulf was consecrated bishop. The same year also Ethelbald
ravaged the land of the Northumbrians.
A.D. 738. This year Eadbery, the son of Eata the son of
Leodwald, succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom, and held it one
and twenty winters. Archbishop Egbert, the son of Eata, was his
brother. They both rest under one porch in the city of York.
A.D. 740. This year died King Ethelhard; and Cuthred, his
relative, succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom, which he held
fourteen winters, during which time he fought many hard battles
with Ethelbald, king of the Mercians. On the death of Archbishop
Nothelm, Cuthbert was consecrated archbishop, and Dunn, Bishop of
Rochester. This year York was on fire.
A.D. 742. This year there was a large synod assembled at
Cliff’s-Hoo; and there was Ethelbald, king of Mercia, with
Archbishop Cuthbert, and many other wise men.
A.D. 743. This year Ethelbald, king of Mercia, and Cuthred, king
of the West-Saxons, fought with the Welsh.
A.D. 744. This year Daniel resigned the see of Winchester; to
which Hunferth was promoted. The stars went swiftly shooting;
and Wilferth the younger, who had been thirty winters Bishop of
York, died on the third day before the calends of May.
A.D. 745. This year died Daniel. Forty-three winters had then
elapsed since he received the episcopal function.
A.D. 746. This year was King Selred slain.
A.D. 748. This year was slain Cynric, etheling of the West-
Saxons; Edbert, King of Kent, died; and Ethelbert, son of King
Wihtred, succeeded to the kingdom.
A.D. 750. This year Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought
with the proud chief Ethelhun.
A.D. 752. This year, the twelfth of his reign, Cuthred, king of
the West-Saxons, fought at
Burford 27 with
Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, and put him to flight.
A.D. 753. This year Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons, fought against the Welsh.
A.D. 754.  This year died Cuthred, king of the West-Saxons; and
Sigeberht, 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 Sigeberht, 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 Sigeberht. 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
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. [763-4] 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 pallium.
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 Æthelred, 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, [19th September] having been bishop fourteen
winters. The same year Ethelbert was consecrated Bishop of
Whitern, at York, on the seventeenth day before the calends of
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 Æthelred 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. [24th December] The same year Archbishop Ethelbert died at
York, and Eanbald was eralier consecrated  in his stead; Bishop Cynewulf
retired to Holy-island; Elmund, Bishop of Hexham, died on the
seventh day before the ides of September, [8th September] and Tilbert was
consecrated in his stead, on the sixth day before the nones of
October; [2nd October] Hibbald was consecrated Bishop of Holy-island at
Sockbury; and King Elwald sent to Rome for a pall in behoof of
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 Chelsea; 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; [2nd 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; [23rd September] and a
heavenly light was often seen on the spot where he was slain. He
was buried in the church of Hexham; and Osred, the son of Alred,
who was his nephew, succeeded him in the government. This year there was a synod assembled at Acley.
A.D. 790.  This year Archbishop Eanbert died, and Abbot Ethelherd
was chosen archbishop the same year. Osred, king of the
Northumbrians, was betrayed and banished from his kingdom, and Æthelred, the son of Æthelwald, 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. Æthelred 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
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. Æthelred, king of the Northumbrians, was
slain by his own people, on the thirteenth day before the calends
of May; [19th April] 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. [1st August 794] In the meantime, the heathen armies spread
devastation among the Northumbrians, and plundered the monastery
of King Everth at the mouth of the Wear. There, however, some of
their leaders were slain; and some of their ships also were
shattered to pieces by the violence of the weather; many of the
crew were drowned; and some, who escaped alive to the shore, were
soon dispatched at the mouth of the river.
A.D. 795.  This year was the moon eclipsed, between cock-crowing
and dawn,31 on
the fifth day before the calends of April; and
Erdulf succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom on the second before
the ides of May. He was afterwards consecrated and raised to his
throne, at York, on the seventh day before the calends of June,
by Archbishop Eanbald, and Bishops Ethelbert, Hibbald, and Baldulf.
A.D. 796. This year died Archbishop Eanbald, on the fourth day
before the ides of August; and his body is deposited at York.
The same year also died Bishop Ceolwulf; and another Eanbald was
consecrated to the see of the former, on the nineteenth day
before the calends of September. About the same time Cynewulf,
King of Mercia, made inroads upon the inhabitants of Kent as far
as the marsh; and the Mercians seized Edbert Pryn, their king,
led him bound into Mercia, and suffered men to pick out his eyes,
and cut off his hands.32 And Ethelard,
Archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod, wherein he ratified and confirmed, by
command of Pope Leo, all things concerning God’s monasteries that
were fixed in Witgar’s days, and in other king’s days, saying
thus: "I Ethelard, the humble Archbishop of Canterbury, with the
unanimous concurrence of the whole synod, and of all the
congregations of all the minsters, to which in former days
freedom was given by faithful men, in God’s name and by his
terrible judgment do decree, as I have command from Pope Leo,
that henceforth none dare to choose them lords from lewd men over
God’s inheritance; but, as it is in the writ that the pope has
given, or holy men have settled, our fathers and our teachers,
concerning holy minsters, so they continue untainted without any
resistance. If there is any man that will not observe this
decree of God, of our pope, and of us, but overlooketh it, and
holdeth it for nought, let them know, that they shall give an
account before the judgment-seat of God. And I Ethelard,
archbishop, with twelve bishops, and with three and twenty
abbots, this same with the rood-token of Christ confirm and fasten."
A.D. 796.* This year Offa, king of the Mercians, died on the
fourth before the kalends of August; he reigned forty years.
A.D. 797. This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo,
put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by
the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as
he was before. Eanbald also received the pall on the sixth day
before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the
third before the calends of November.
A.D. 798. This year a severe battle was fought in the
Northumbrian territory, during Lent, on the fourth day before the
nones of April, at Whalley; wherein Alric, the son of Herbert,
was slain, and many others with him.
A.D. 799. This year Archbishop Ethelbert, and Cynbert, Bishop of
Wessex, went to Rome. In the meantime Bishop Alfun died at
Sudbury, and was buried at Dunwich. After him Tidfrith was
elected to the see; and Siric, king of the East Saxons, went to
Rome. In this year the body of Witburga was found entire, and
free from decay, at Dercham, after a lapse of five and fifty
years from the period of her decease.
A.D. 800. This year was the moon eclipsed, at eight in the
evening, on the seventeenth day before the calends of February;
and soon after died King Bertric and Alderman Worr. Egbert
succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom; and the same day Ethelmund,
alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford;
where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of Wiltshire,
and a terrible conflict ensued, in which both the commanders were
slain, but the men of Wiltshire obtained the victory.
A.D. 801.* This year Beornmod was ordained Bishop of
A.D. 802. This year was the moon eclipsed, at dawn, on the
thirteenth day before the calends of January; and Bernmod was
consecrated Bishop of Rochester.
A.D. 803.  This year died Hibbald, Bishop of Holy-island, on the
twenty-fourth of June, and Egbert was consecrated in his stead,
on the thirteenth of June following. Archbishop Ethelherd also
died in Kent, and Wulfred was chosen archbishop in his stead.
Abbot Forthred, in the course of the same year, departed this life.
A.D. 804. This year Archbishop Wulfred received his pall.
A.D. 805. This year died King Cuthred in Kent, and Abbess
Colburga, and Alderman Herbert.
A.D. 806. This year was the moon eclipsed, on the first 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
A.D. 807. This year was the sun eclipsed, precisely at eleven in
the morning, on the seventeenth day before the calends of August.
A.D. 812.  This year died the Emperor Charlemagne, after a reign
of five and forty winters; and Archbishop Wulfred, accompanied by
Wigbert, Bishop of Wessex, undertook a journey to Rome.
A.D. 813. This year Archbishop Wulfred returned to his own see,
with the blessing of Pope Leo; and King Egbert spread devastation
in Cornwall from east to west.
A.D. 814.  This year died Leo, the noble and holy pope; and
Stephen succeeded him in the papal government.
A.D. 816. This year died Pope Stephen; and Paschalis was
consecrated pope after him. This same year the school of the
English nation at Rome was destroyed by fire.
A.D. 819. This year died Cenwulf, King of Mercia; and Ceolwulf
33 succeeded him.
Alderman Eadbert also departed this life.
A.D. 821. This year Ceolwulf was deprived of his kingdom.
A.D. 822. This year two aldermen were slain, whose names were
Burhelm and Mucca; and a synod was holden at Cliff’s-Hoo.
A.D. 823. This year a battle was fought between the Welsh in
Cornwall and the people of Devonshire, at Camelford; and in the
course of the same year Egbert, king of the West-Saxons, and
Bernwulf, King of Mercia, fought a battle at Wilton, in which
Egbert gained the victory, but there was great slaughter on both
sides. Then sent he his son Ethelwulf into Kent, with a large
detachment from the main body of the army, accompanied by his
bishop, Elstan, and his alderman, Wulfherd; who drove Baldred,
the king, northward over the Thames. Whereupon the men of Kent
immediately submitted to him; as did also the inhabitants of
Surrey, and Sussex, and Essex; who had been unlawfully kept from
their allegiance by his relatives. The same year also, the king
of the East-Angles, and his subjects besought King Egbert to give
them peace and protection against the terror of the Mercians;
whose king, Bernwulf, they slew in the course of the same year.
A.D. 825. This year Ludecan, King of Mercia, was slain, and his
five aldermen with him; after which Wiglaf succeeded to the kingdom.
A.D. 827. This year was the moon eclipsed, on mid-winter’s mass-
night; and King Egbert, in the course of the same year, conquered
the Mercian kingdom, and all that is south of the Humber, being
the eighth king who was sovereign of all the British dominions.
Ella, king of the South-Saxons, was the first who possessed so
large a territory; the second was Ceawlin, king of the West-
Saxons: the third was Ethelbert, King of Kent; the fourth was
Redwald, king of the East-Angles; the fifth was Edwin, king of
the Northumbrians; the sixth was Oswald, who succeeded him; the
seventh was Oswy, the brother of Oswald; the eighth was Egbert,
king of the West-Saxons. This same Egbert led an army against
the Northumbrians as far as Dore, where they met him, and offered
terms of obedience and subjection, on the acceptance of which
they returned home.
A.D. 828. This year Wiglaf recovered his Mercian kingdom, and
Bishop Æthelwald 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
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
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
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
A.D. 871. This year came the army to Reading in Wessex; and in
the course of three nights after rode two earls up, who were met
by Alderman Ethelwulf at Englefield; where he fought with them,
and obtained the victory. There one of them was slain, whose
name was Sidrac. About four nights after this, King Ethered and
Alfred his brother led their main army to Reading, where they
fought with the enemy; and there was much slaughter on either
hand, Alderman Ethelwulf being among the skain; but the Danes
kept possession of the field. And about four nights after this,
King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with all the army on
Ashdown, and the Danes were overcome. They had two heathen
kings, Bagsac and Healfden, and many earls; and they were in two
divisions; in one of which were Bagsac and Healfden, the heathen
kings, and in the other were the earls. King Ethered therefore
fought with the troops of the kings, and there was King Bagsac
slain; and Alfred his brother fought with the troops of the
earls, and there were slain Earl Sidrac the elder, Earl Sidrac
the younger, Earl Osbern, Earl Frene, and Earl Harold. They
put both the troops to flight; there were many thousands of the
slain, and they continued fighting till night. Within a
fortnight of this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought
with the army at Basing; and there the Danes had the victory.
About two months after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother
fought with the army at Marden. They were in two divisions; and
they put them both to flight, enjoying the victory for some time
during the day; and there was much slaughter on either hand; but
the Danes became masters of the field; and there was slain Bishop
Heahmund, with many other good men. After this fight came a vast
army in the summer to Reading. And after the Easter of this year
died King Ethered. He reigned five years, and his body lies at
Winburn-minster. Then Alfred, his brother, the son of Ethelwulf,
took to the kingdom of Wessex. And within a month of this, King
Alfred fought against all the Army with a small force at Wilton,
and long pursued them during the day; but the Danes got
possession of the field. This year were nine general battles
fought with the army in the kingdom south of the Thames; besides
those skirmishes, in which Alfred the king’s brother, and every
single alderman, and the thanes of the king, oft rode against
them; which were accounted nothing. This year also were slain
nine earls, and one king; and the same year the West-Saxons made
peace with the army.
A.D. 871.* And the Danish-men
were overcome; and they had two heathen kings, Bagsac and Halfdene, and many earls;
and there was King Bagsac slain, and these earls; Sidrac the elder, and also
Sidrac the younger, Osbern, Frene, and Harold; and the army was put to flight.
A.D. 872. This year went the army to London from Reading, and
there chose their winter-quarters. Then the Mercians made peace
with the army.
A.D. 873. This year went the army against the Northumbrians, and
fixed their winter-quarters at Torksey in Lindsey. And the
Mercians again made peace with the army.
A.D. 874. This year went the army from Lindsey to Repton, and
there took up their winter-quarters, drove the king, Burhred,
over sea, when he had reigned about two and twenty winters, and
subdued all that land. He then went to Rome, and there remained
to the end of his life. And his body lies in the church of
Sancta Maria, in the school of the English nation. And the same
year they gave Ceolwulf, an unwise king’s thane, the Mercians
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
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
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
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
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
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 East 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
or before, appeared the star that men in book-Latin call "cometa": some men say that in English it may
be termed "haired star"; for that there standeth off from it a
long gleam of light, whilom [=sometimes] 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
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
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
the king commanded 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 they [the Danes] came out against them [the English]
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 Æthelwulf, six
nights before the mass of All Saints. [26th October] 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 Æthelwald, 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
Æthelwald 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 Æthelwald 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 Æthelred,
who was alderman of Devonshire, four weeks before King Alfred.
A.D. 902. This year was the great fight at the
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 Æthelwald 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 Æthelwald 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 Æthelwald, who had
enticed them to the war. Beorhtsige, the son of Prince Beorthnoth;
Hold Ysopa and Hold 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. This same
year  a comet appeared on the thirteenth day before the
calends of November. [20th October]
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 reeve at 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
A.D. 910. This year Frithestan took to the bishopric of
Winchester; and Asser died soon after, who was Bishop o[
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
A.D. 910.* This year the army of the Angles and of the Danes
fought at Tootenhall. And Æthelred, 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 Scurfa;
Hold Agmund, Othulf, and Benesing; Anlaf the Swarthy, and
Governor Thunferth; Osferth the collector, and Governor Guthferth.
A.D. 912.  This year died Æthelred, 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 Runcorn.
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
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 Gloucester,
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
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 Æthelred, lord of the
Mercians, was deprived of all dominion over the Mercians, and
carried into Wessex, three weeks before mid-winter; she was called Elfwina.
A.D. 920. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward to
Maldon; and repaired and fortified the town, ere he departed
thence. And the same year went Earl Thurkytel over sea to
Frankland with the men who would adhere to him, under the
protection and assistance of King Edward. This year Ethelfleda
got into her power, with God’s assistance, in the early part of
the year, without loss, the town of Leicester; and the greater
part of the army that belonged thereto submitted to her. And the
Yorkists had also promised and confirmed, some by agreement and
some with oaths, that they would be in her interest. But very
soon after they had done this, she departed, twelve nights before
midsummer, at Tamworth, the eighth year that she was holding the
government of the Mercians with right dominion; and her body
lieth at Glocester, in the east porch of St. Peter’s church.
This year also was the daughter of Ethered, lord of the Mercians,
deprived of all authority over the Mercians, and led into Wessex,
three weeks before midwinter. Her name was Healfwina.
A.D. 921. This year, before Easter, King Edward ordered his men
to go to the town of Towcester, and to rebuild it. Then again,
after that, in the same year, during the gang-days, he ordered
the town of Wigmore to be repaired. The same summer, betwixt
Lammas and midsummer, the army broke their parole from
Northampton and from Leicester; and went thence northward to
Towcester, and fought against the town all day, and thought that
they should break into it; but the people that were therein
defended it, till more aid came to them; and the enemy then
abandoned the town, and went away. Then again, very soon after
this, they went out at night for plunder, and came upon men
unaware, and seized not a little, both in men and cattle, betwixt
Burnham-wood and Aylesbury. At the same time went the army from
Huntington and East-Anglia, and constructed that work at
Ternsford; which they inhabited and fortified; and abandoned the
other at Huntingdon; and thought that they should thence oft with
war and contention recover a good deal of this land. Thence they
advanced till they came to Bedford; where the men who were within
came out against them, and fought with them, and put them to
flight, and slew a good number of them. Then again, after this,
a great army yet collected itself from East-Anglia and from
Mercia, and went to the town of Wigmore; which they besieged
without, and fought against long in the day; and took the cattle
about it; but the men defended the town, who were within; and the
enemy left the town, and went away. After this, the same summer,
a large force collected itself in King Edward’s dominions, from
the nighest towns that could go thither, and went to Temsford;
and they beset the town, and fought thereon; until they broke
into it, and slew the king, and Earl Toglos, and Earl Mann his
son, and his brother, and all them that were therein, and who
were resolved to defend it; and they took the others, and all
that was therein. After this, a great force collected soon in
harvest, from Kent, from Surrey, from Essex, and everywhere from
the nighest towns; and went to Colchester, and beset the town,
and fought thereon till they took it, and slew all the people,
and seized all that was therein; except those men who escaped
therefrom over the wall. After this again, this same harvest, a
great army collected itself from East-Anglia, both of the land-
forces and of the pirates, which they had enticed to their
assistance, and thought that they should wreak their vengeance.
They went to Maldon, and beset the town, and fought thereon,
until more aid came to the townsmen from without to help. The
enemy then abandoned the town, and went from it. And the men
went after, out of the town, and also those that came from
without to their aid; and put the army to flight, and slew many
hundreds of them, both of the pirates and of the others. Soon
after this, the same harvest, went King Edward with the
West-Saxon army to Passham; and sat there the while that men
fortified the town of Towcester with a stone wall. And there
returned to him Earl Thurferth, and the captains, and all the
army that belonged to Northampton northward to the Welland, and
sought him for their lord and protector. When this division of
the army went home, then went another out, and marched to the
town of Huntingdon; and repaired and renewed it, where it was
broken down before, by command of King Edward. And all the
people of the country that were left submitted to King Edward,
and sought his peace and protection. After this, the same year,
before Martinmas, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to
Colchester; and repaired and renewed the town, where it was
broken down before. And much people turned to him. both in East-
Anglia and in Essex, that were before under the power of the
Danes. And all the army in East-Anglia swore union with him;
that they would all that he would, and would protect all that he
protected, either by sea or land. And the army that belonged to
Cambridge chose him separately for their lord and protector, and
confirmed the same with oaths, as he had advised. This year King
Edward repaired the town of Gladmouth; and the same year King
Sihtric slew Neil his brother.
A.D. 922. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King
Edward with his army to Stamford, and ordered the town to be
fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people
that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought
him for their lord. It was whilst he was tarrying there, that
Ethelfleda his sister died at Tamworth, twelve nights before
midsummer. Then rode he to the borough of Tamworth; and all the
population in Mercia turned to him, who before were subject to
Ethelfleda. And the kings in North-Wales, Howel, and Cledauc,
and Jothwel, and all the people of North-Wales, sought him for
their lord. Then went he thence to Nottingham, and secured that
borough, and ordered it to be repaired, and manned both with
English and with Danes. And all the population turned to him,
that was settled in Mercia, both Danish and English.
A.D. 923. This year went King Edward with an army, late in the
harvest, to Thelwall; and ordered the borough to be repaired, and
inhabited, and manned. And he ordered another army also from the
population of Mercia, the while he sat there to go to Manchester
in Northumbria, to repair and to man it. This year died
Archbishop Plegmund; and King Reynold won York.
A.D. 924. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an
army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the
south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over
the Trent betwixt the two towns. Thence he went to Bakewell in
Peakland; and ordered a fort to be built as near as possible to
it, and manned. And the King of Scotland, with all his people,
chose him as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of
Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and
Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the
Strathclydwallians, and all his people.
A.D. 924.* This year Edward was chosen for father and for lord
by the king of the Scots, and by the Scots, and King Reginald,
and by all the North-humbrians, and also the king of the
Strath-clyde Britons, and by all the Strath-clyde Britons.
A.D. 924.* This year King Edward died among the Mercians at
Farndon; and very shortly, about sixteen days after this, Elward
his son died at Oxford; and their bodies lie at Winchester. And
Athelstan was chosen king by the Mercians, and consecrated at
Kingston. And he gave his sister to Ofsae (Otho), son of the
king of the Old-Saxons.
A.D. 925. This year died King Edward at Farndon in Mercia; and
Elward his son died very soon after this, in Oxford. Their
bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king in
Mercia, and consecrated at Kingston. He gave his sister to Otho,
son of the king of the Old-Saxons. St. Dunstan was now born; and
Wulfhelm took to the archbishopric in Canterbury. This year King
Athelstan and Sihtric king of the Northumbrians came together at
Tamworth, the sixth day before the calends of February, and
Athelstan gave away his sister to him.
A.D. 925.* This year Bishop Wulfhelm was consecrated. And that
same year King Edward died.
A.D. 926. This year appeared fiery lights in the northern part
of the firmament; and Sihtric departed; and King Athelstan took
to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that
were in this island: -- First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and
Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and
Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and
oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Emmet, on
the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all
idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.
A.D. 927. This year King Athelstan expelled King Guthfrith; and
Archbishop Wulfhelm went to Rome.
A.D. 928. William took to Normandy, and held it fifteen years.
A.D. 931.* This year died Frithstan, Bishop of Winchester, and
Brinstan was blessed in his place.
A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester
on the fourth day before the calends of June; and he held the
bishopric two years and a half.
A.D. 933. This year died Bishop Frithestan; and Edwin the
atheling was drowned in the sea.
A.D. 934. This year went King Athelstan into Scotland, both with
a land-force and a naval armament, and laid waste a great part of
it; and Bishop Burnstan died at Winchester at the feast of All
A.D. 935.  This year Bishop Elfheah took to the bishopric of
A.D. 937.* This year King Athelstan and Edmund his
brother led a force to Brunanburh, and there fought against Anlaf; and, Christ
helping, had the victory: and they there slew five kings and
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 Brunanburh!
The sons of Edward their board-walls clove,
and hewed their banners,
with the wrecks of their hammers.
So were they taught
by kindred zeal,
that they at camp oft
’gainst any robber
their land should defend,
their hoards and homes.
the Scottish clans;
the men of the fleet
in numbers fell;
’midst the din of the field
the warrior swate.
Since the sun was up
glad over grounds,
God’s candle bright,
eternal Lord! --
’till the noble creature
sat in the western main:
there lay many
of the Northern heroes
under a shower of arrows,
shot over shields;
and Scotland’s boast,
a Scythian race,
the mighty seed of Mars!
With chosen troops,
throughout the day,
the West-Saxons fierce
press’d on the loathed bands;
hew’d down the fugitives,
and scatter’d the rear,
with strong mill-sharpen’d blades,
The Mercians too
the hard hand-play
spared not to any
of those that with Anlaf
over the briny deep
in the ship’s bosom
sought this land
for the hardy fight.
Five kings lay
on the field of battle,
in bloom of youth,
pierced with swords.
So seven eke
of the earls of Anlaf;
and of the ship’s-crew
There was dispersed
the little band
of hardy Scots,
the dread of northern hordes;
urged to the noisy deep
by unrelenting fate!
The king of the fleet
with his slender craft
escaped with his life
on the felon flood; --
and so too Constantine,
the valiant chief,
returned to the north
in hasty flight.
The hoary Hildrinc
cared not to boast
among his kindred.
Here was his remnant
of relations and friends
slain with the sword
in the crowded fight.
His son too he left
on the field of battle,
mangled with wounds,
young at the fight.
The fair-hair’d youth
had no reason to boast
of the slaughtering strife.
Nor old Inwood
and Anlaf the more
with the wrecks of their army
could laugh and say,
that they on the field
of stern command
better workmen were,
in the conflict of banners,
the clash of spears,
the meeting of heroes,
and the rustling of weapons,
which they on the field
of slaughter played
with the sons of Edward.
The northmen sail’d
in their nailed ships,
a dreary remnant,
on the roaring sea;
over deep water
Dublin they sought,
and Ireland’s shores,
in great disgrace.
Such then the brothers
king and atheling,
sought their country,
in right triumphant.
They left behind them
raw to devour,
the sallow kite,
the swarthy raven
with horny nib,
and the hoarse vultur,
with the eagle swift
to consume his prey;
the greedy gos-hawk,
and that grey beast
the wolf of the weald.
No slaughter yet was greater made
e’er in this island,
of people slain, before this same,
with the edge of the sword; as the books
inform us of the old historians; since
hither came from the eastern shores the
Angles and Saxons, over the broad sea,
and Britain sought, 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.
of Angles lord,
protector of friends,
author and framer
of direful deeds.
o’erran with speed
the Mercian land.
whete’er the course
or Humber deep,
The broad brim-stream,
divides five towns.
Leicester and Lincoln.
Nottingham and Stamford,
and Derby eke.
In thraldom long
to Norman Danes
they bowed through need,
and dragged the chains
of heathen men;
till, to his glory,
great Edward’s heir,
Edmund the king,
refuge of warriors,
their fetters broke.
A.D. 943. This year Anlaf stormed Tamworth; and much slaughter
was made on either hand; but the Danes had the victory, and led
away with them much plunder. There was Wulfrun taken, in the
spoiling of the town. This year King Edmund beset King Anlaf and
Archbishop Wulfstan in Leicester; and he might have conquered
them, were it not that they burst out of the town in the night.
After this Anlaf obtained the friendship of King Edmund, and King
Edmund then received King Anlaf in baptism; and he made him royal
presents. And the same year, after some interval, he received
King Reynold at episcopal hands. This year also died King Anlaf.
A.D. 944. This year King Edmund reduced all the land of the
Northumbrians to his dominion, and expelled two kings, Anlaf the
son of Sihtric, and Reynold the son of Guthferth.
A.D. 945. This year King Edmund overran all Cumberland; and let
it all to Malcolm king of the Scots, on the condition that he
became his ally, both by sea and land.
A.D. 946. This year King Edmund died, on St. Augustine’s mass
day. That was widely known, how he ended his days: -- that Leof
stabbed him at Pucklechurch. And Ethelfleda of Damerham,
daughter of Alderman Ælfgar, 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
A.D. 949. This year came Anlaf Curran to the land of the
A.D. 951. This year died Elfeah, Bishop of Winchester, on St.
Gregory’s mass day.
A.D. 952. This year the Northumbrians expelled King Anlaf, and
received Eric the son of Harold. This year also King Edred
ordered Archbishop Wulfstan to be brought into prison at
Jedburgh; because he was oft bewrayed before the king: and the
same year the king ordered a great slaughter to be made in the
town of Thetford, in revenge of the abbot, whom they had formerly
A.D. 954. This year the Northumbrians expelled Eric; and King
Edred took to the government of the Northumbrians. This year
also Archbishop Wulfstan received a bishopric again at
A.D. 955. This year died King Edred, on St. Clement’s mass day,
at Frome.41 He reigned
nine years and a half; and he rests in the old minster. Then succeeded Edwy, the son
of King Edmund, to the government of the West-Saxons; and Edgar Atheling, his
brother, succeeded to the government of the Mercians. They were
the sons of King Edmund and of St. Elfgiva.
A.D. 955.* And Edwy succeeded to
the kingdom of the West-Saxons, and Edgar his brother succeeded to the
kingdom of theMercians: and they were the sons of King Edmund and of S.
A.D. 956. This year died Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, on the
seventeenth day before the calends of January; and he was buried
at Oundle; and in the same year was Abbot Dunstan driven out of
this land over sea.
A.D. 958. This year Archbishop Oda separated King Edwy and
Elfgiva; because they were too nearly related.
A.D. 959. This year died King Edwy, on the calends of October;
and Edgar his brother took to the government of the West-Saxons,
Mercians, and Northumbrians. He was then sixteen years old. It
was in this year he sent after St. Dunstan, and gave him the
bishopric of Worcester; and afterwards the bishopric of London.
In his days
it prosper’d well;
and God him gave,
that he dwelt in peace
the while that he lived.
Whate’er he did,
whate’er he plan’d,
he earn’d his thrift.
He also rear’d
God’s glory wide,
and God’s law lov’d,
with peace to man,
above the kings
that went before
in man’s remembrance.
God so him sped,
that kings and earls
to all his claims
and to his will
without a blow
he wielded all
as pleased himself.
Esteem’d he was
both far and wide
in distant lands;
because he prized
the name of God,
and God’s law traced,
God’s glory rear’d,
both far and wide,
on every side.
Wisely he sought
in council oft
his people’s good,
before his God,
before the world.
One misdeed he did,
too much however,
that foreign tastes
he loved too much;
and heathen modes
into this land
he brought too fast;
and to this earth
of vicious men.
But God him grant,
that his good deeds
be weightier far
than his misdeeds,
to his soul’s redemption
on the judgment-day.
A.D. 961. This year departed Odo, the good archbishop, and St.
Dunstan took to the archbishopric. This year also died Ælfgar, 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-
and afterwards died Gyric, the mass-priest. In the
same year took Abbot Athelwold to the bishopric of Winchester;
and he was consecrated on the vigil of St. Andrew, which happened
on a Sunday. On the second year after he was consecrated, he
made many minsters; and drove out the clerks
from the bishopric, because they would hold no rule, and set monks
therein. He made there two abbacies; one of monks, another of
nuns. That was all within Winchester. Then came he afterwards
to King Edgar, and requested that he would give him all the
minsters that heathen men had before destroyed; for that he would
renew them. This the king cheerfully granted; and the bishop
came then first to Ely, where St. Etheldritha lies, and ordered
the minster to be repaired; which he gave to a monk of his, whose
name was Britnoth, whom he consecrated abbot: and there he set
monks to serve God, where formerly were nuns. He then bought
many villages of the king, and made it very rich. Afterwards
came Bishop Athelwold to the minster called Medhamsted, which was
formerly ruined by heathen folk; but he found there nothing but
old walls, and wild woods. In the old walls at length he found
hid writings which Abbot Hedda had formerly written; -- how King
Wulfhere and Æthelred his brother had wrought it, and how they
freed it against king and against bishop, and against all worldly
service; and how Pope Agatho confirmed it with his writ, as also
Archbishop Deusdedit. He then ordered the minster to be rebuilt;
and set there an abbot, who was called Aldulf; and made monks,
where before was nothing. He then came to the king, and let him
look at the writings which before were found; and the king then
answered and said: "I Edgar grant and give to-day, before God and
before Archbishop Dunstan, freedom to St. Peter’s minster at
Medhamsted, from king and from bishop; and all the thorps that
thereto lie; that is, Eastfield, and Dodthorp, and Eye, and
Paston. And so I free it, that no bishop have any jurisdiction
there, but the abbot of the minster alone. And I give the town
called Oundle, with all that thereto lieth, called Eyot-hundred,
with market and toll; so freely, that neither king, nor bishop,
nor earl, nor sheriff, have there any jurisdiction; nor any man
but the abbot alone, and whom he may set thereto. And I give to
Christ and St. Peter, and that too with the advice of Bishop
Athelwold, these lands; -- that is, Barrow, Warmington, Ashton,
Kettering, Castor, Eylesworth, Walton, Witherington, Eye, Thorp,
and a minster at Stamford. These lands and al the others that
belong to the minster I bequeath clear; that is, with sack and
sock, toll and team, and infangthief; these privileges and all
others bequeath I clear to Christ and St. Peter. And I give the
two parts of Whittlesey-mere, with waters and with wears and
fens; and so through Meerlade along to the water that is called
Nen; and so eastward to Kingsdelf. And I will that there be a
market in the town itself, and that no other be betwixt Stamford
and Huntingdon. And I will that thus be given the toll; --
first, from Whittlesey-mere to the king’s toll of Norman-cross
hundred; then backward again from Whittlesey-mere through
Meerlade along to the Nen, and as that river runs to Crowland;
and from Crowland to Must, and from Must to Kingsdelf and to
Whittlesey-mere. And I will that all the freedom, and all the
privileges, that my predecessors gave, should remain; and I write
and confirm this with the rood-token of Christ." (+) -- Then
answered Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and said: "I
grant, that all the things that here are given and spoken, and
all the things that thy predecessors and mine have given, shall
remain firm; and whosoever breaketh it, then give I him God’s
curse, and that of all saints, and of all hooded heads, and mine,
unless he come to repentance. And I give expressly to St. Peter
my mass-hackle, and my stole, and my reef, to serve Christ." "I
Oswald, Archbishop of York, confirm all these words through the
holy rood on which Christ was crucified." (+) "I Bishop
Athelwold bless all that maintain this, and I excommunicate all
that break it, unless they come to repentance." -- Here was
Bishop Ellstan, Bishop Athulf, and Abbot Eskwy, and Abbot Osgar,
and Abbot Ethelgar, and Alderman Elfere; .Alderman Ethelwin,
Britnoth and Oslac aldermen, and many other rich men; and all
confirmed it and subscribed it with the cross of Christ. (+)
This was done in the year after our Lord’s Nativity 972, the
sixteenth year of this king. Then bought the Abbot Aldulf lands
rich and many, and much endowed the minster withal; and was there
until Oswald, Archbishop of York, was dead; and then he was
chosen to be archbishop. Soon after another abbot was chosen of
the same monastery, whose name was Kenulf, who was afterwards
Bishop of Winchester. He first made the wall about the minster,
and gave it then the name of Peterborough, which before was
Medhamsted. He was there till he was appointed Bishop of
Winchester, when another abbot was chosen of the same monastery,
whose name was Elfsy, who continued abbot fifty winters
afterwards. It was he who took up St. Kyneburga and St.
Kyneswitha, that lay at Castor, and St. Tibba, that lay at
Ryhall; and brought them to Peterborough, and offered them all to
St. Peter in one day, and preserved them all the while he was
A.D. 963.* This year, by
King Edgar, St. Ethelwold was chosen
to the bishoprick at Winchester. And the Archbishop of
Canterbury, St. Dunstan, consecrated him bishop on the first
Sunday of Advent; that was on the third before the kalends of
A.D. 964. This year drove King Edgar the priests of Winchester
out of the old minster, and also out of the new minster; and from
Chertsey; and from Milton; and replaced them with monks. And he
appointed Ethelgar abbot to the new minster, and Ordbert to
Chertsey, and Cyneward to Milton.
A.D. 964.* This year were
the canons driven out of the Old-minster by King Edgar, and also
from the New-minster, and from
Chertsey and from Milton; and he appointed thereto monks and
abbots: to the New-minster Ethelgar, to Chertsey Ordbert, to
A.D. 965. This year King Edgar took Elfrida for his queen, who
was daughter of Alderman Ordgar.
A.D. 966. This year Thored, the son of Gunner, plundered
Westmorland; and the same year Oslac took to the aldermanship.
A.D. 969. This year King Edgar ordered all Thanet-land to be
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
A.D. 971. This year died Edmund Atheling, and his body lies at
A.D. 972.* This year Edgar the etheling was consecrated king at
Bath, on Pentecost’s mass-day, on the fifth before the ides of
May, the thirteenth year since he had obtained the kingdom; and
he was then one less than thirty years of age. And soon after
that, the king led all his ship-forces to Chester; and there came
to meet him six kings, and they all plighted their troth to him,
that they would be his fellow-workers by sea and by land.
Here was Edgar,
of Angles lord,
with courtly pomp
hallow’d to king
the ancient city;
whose modern sons,
have named her BATH.
Much bliss was there
by all enjoyed
on that happy day,
by men below.
A crowd of priests,
a throng of monks,
in counsel sage,
were gather’d there.
Then were agone
ten hundred winters
of number’d years
from the birth of Christ,
the lofty king,
guardian of light,
save that thereto
there yet was left
as writings say,
seven and twenty.
So near had run
of the lord of triumphs
a thousand years,
when this was done.
Nine and twenty
hard winters there
of irksome deeds
had Edmund’s son
seen in the world,
when this took place,
and on the thirtieth
was hallow’d king. 44
Soon after this the king led all his marine force to Chester; and
there came to meet him six kings; and they all covenanted with
him, that they would be his allies by sea and by land.
his earthly dreams
Edgar, of Angles king;
chose him other light,
serene and lovely,
spurning this frail abode,
a life that mortals
here call lean
he quitted with disdain.
July the month,
by all agreed
in this our land,
in chronic lore
the day the eighth,
when Edgar young,
rewarder of heroes,
his life -- his throne -- resigned.
Edward his son,
of earls the prince,
to England’s throne.
Of royal race
ten nights before
Cyneward the good --
prelate of manners mild.
Well known to me
in Mercia then,
how low on earth
God’s glory fell
on every side:
chaced from the land,
his servants fled, --
their wisdom scorned;
much grief to him
whose bosom glow’d
with fervent love
of great Creation’s Lord!
the God of wonders,
victor of victors,
monarch of heaven, --
his laws by man transgressed!
Then too was driv’n
an exile far
from his native land
over the rolling waves, --
over the ganet-bath,
over the water-throng,
the abode of the whale, --
wise and eloquent,
of home bereft!
Then too was seen,
high in the heavens,
the star on his station,
that far and wide
wise men call --
lovers of truth
and heav’nly lore --
"cometa" by name.
Widely was spread
God’s vengeance then
throughout the land,
and famine scour’d the hills.
May heaven’s guardian,
the glory of angels,
avert these ills,
and give us bliss again;
that bliss to all
from earth’s choice fruits,
throughout this happy isle.45
A.D. 975.* The eighth before the ides of July.
Here Edgar died,
ruler of Angles,
and Mercians’ protector.
Known was it widely
throughout many nations.
"Thaet" offspring of Edmund,
o’er the ganet’s-bath,
Kings him widely
bowed to the king,
as was his due by kind.
No fleet was so daring,
nor army so strong,
that ’mid the English nation
took from him aught,
the while that the noble king
ruled on his throne.
And this year Edward, Edgar’s son, succeeded to the kingdom; and
then soon, in the same year, during harvest, appeared "cometa"
the star; and then came in the following year a very great
famine, and very manifold commotions among the English people.
In his days,
for his youth,
God’s law broke;
and others many;
and rule monastic quashed,
and minsters dissolved,
and monks drove out,
and God’s servants put down,
whom Edgar, king, ordered erewhile
the holy bishop
Ethelwold to stablish;
and widows they plundered,
many times and oft:
and many unrighteousnesses,
and evil unjust-deeds
arose up afterwards:
and ever after that
it greatly grew in evil.
And at that rime, also, was Oslac the great earl banished from
A.D. 976. This year was the great famine in England.
A.D. 977. This year was that great council at
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 Æthelred 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 Æthelred consecrated king, on the
Sunday fortnight after Easter, at Kingston. And there were at
his consecration two archbishops, and ten diocesan bishops. This
same year was seen a bloody welkin oft-times in the likeness of
fire; and that was most apparent at midnight, and so in misty
beams was shown; but when it began to dawn, then it glided away.
A.D. 979.* This
year was King Edward slain at even-tide, at
Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth before the kalends of April, and
then was he buried at Wareham, without any kind of kingly
There has not been ’mid Angles
a worse deed done
than this was,
since they first
Men him murdered,
but God him glorified.
He was in life
an earthly king;
he is now after death
a heavenly saint.
Him would not his earthly
but him hath his heavenly Father
The earthly murderers
would his memory
on earth blot out,
but the lofty Avenger
hath his memory
in the heavens
and on earth wide-spread.
They who would not erewhile
to his living
body bow down,
they now humbly
on knees bend
to his dead bones.
Now we may understand
that men’s wisdom
and their devices,
and their councils,
are like nought
’gainst God’s resolves.
This year Æthelred 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
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
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 Ælfgar, 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
A.D. 994. This year died Archbishop Siric: and Elfric, Bishop of
Wiltshire, was chosen on Easter-day, at Amesbury, by King
Æthelred 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 Æthelred
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
A.D. 997. This year went the army about Devonshire into Severn-
mouth, and equally plundered the people of Cornwall,
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
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
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
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 Æthelred, 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
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
A.D. 1007. In this year was the tribute paid to the hostile
army; that was, 30,000 pounds. In this year also was Edric
appointed alderman over all the kingdom of the Mercians. This
year went Bishop Elfeah to Rome after his pall.
A.D. 1008. This year bade the king that men should speedily
build ships over all England; that is, a man possessed of three
hundred and ten hides to provide on galley or skiff; and a man
possessed of eight hides only, to find a helmet and breastplate
A.D. 1009. This year were the ships ready, that we before spoke
about; and there were so many of them as never were in England
before, in any king’s days, as books tell us. And they were all
transported together to Sandwich; that they should lie there, and
defend this land against any out-force. But we have not yet had
the prosperity and the honour, that the naval armament should be
useful to this land, any more than it often before was. It was
at this same time, or a little earlier, that Brihtric, brother of
Alderman Edric, betrayed 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
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 (i)
East-Anglia and (ii) Essex and (iii) Middlesex and (iv)
Oxfordshire and (v) Cambridgeshire and (vi) Hertfordshire
and (vii) Buckinghamshire and (viii) Bedfordshire and (ix) half of
Huntingdonshire and much (x) 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
where oft before
great bliss was seen,
in the fated city,
whence first to us
and bliss ’fore God
and ’fore the world.
And the archbishop they kept with them until the time when they
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
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 Æthelred, 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 Æthelred 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 Æthelred; 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 Æthelred 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 Æthelred 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.
A.D. 1015. This year was the great council at Oxford; where
Alderman Edric betrayed Sigferth and Morcar, the eldest thanes
belonging to the Seven Towns. He allured them into his bower,
where they were shamefully slain. Then the king took all their
possessions, and ordered the widow of Sigferth to be secured, and
brought within Malmsbury. After a little interval, Edmund
Etheling went and seized her, against the king’s will, and had
her to wife. Then, before the Nativity of St. Mary, went the
etheling west-north into the
Five Towns,58 and soon plundered
all the property of Sigferth and Morcar; and all the people
submitted to him. At the same time came King Knute to Sandwich,
and went soon all about Kent into Wessex, until he came to the
mouth of the Frome; and then plundered in Dorset, and in
Wiltshire, and in Somerset. King Æthelred, meanwhile, lay sick
at Corsham; and Alderman Edric collected an army there, and
Edmund the etheling in the north. When they came together, the
alderman designed to betray Edmund the etheling, but he could
not; whereupon they separated without an engagement, and sheered
off from their enemies. Alderman Edric then seduced forty ships
from the king, and submitted to Knute. The West-Saxons also
submitted, and gave hostages, and horsed the army. And he
continued there until midwinter.
A.D. 1016. This year came King Knute with a marine force of one
hundred and sixty ships, and Alderman Edric with him, over the
Thames into Mercia at Cricklade; whence they proceeded to
Warwickshire, during the middle of the winter, and plundered
therein, and burned, and slew all they met. Then began Edmund
the etheling to gather an army, which, when it was collected,
could avail him nothing, unless the king were there and they had
the assistance of the citizens of London. The expedition
therefore was frustrated, and each man betook himself home.
After this. an army was again ordered, under full penalties, that
every person, however distant, should go forth; and they sent to
the king in London, and besought him to come to meet the army
with the aid that he could collect. When they were all
assembled, it succeeded nothing better than it often did before;
and, when it was told the king, that those persons would betray
him who ought to assist him, then forsook he the army, and
returned again to London. Then rode Edmund the etheling to Earl
Utred in Northumbria; and every man supposed that they would
collect an army King Knute; but they went into Stafforddhire, and
to Shrewsbury, and to Chester; and they plundered on their parts,
and Knute on his. He went out through Buckinghamshire to
Bedfordshire; thence to Huntingdonshire, and so into
Northamptonshire along the fens to Stamford. Thence into
Lincolnshire. Thence to Nottinghamshire; and so into Northumbria
toward York. When Utred understood this, he ceased from
plundering, and hastened northward, and submitted for need, and
all the Northumbrians with him; but, though he gave hostages, he
was nevertheless slain by the advice of Alderman Edric, and
Thurkytel, the son of Nafan, with him. After this, King Knute
appointed Eric earl over Northumbria, as Utred was; and then went
southward another way, all by west, till the whole army came,
before Easter, to the ships. Meantime Edmund Etheling went to
London to his father: and after Easter went King Knute with all
his ships toward London; but it happened that King Æthelred died
ere the ships came. He ended his days on St. George’s day;
having held his kingdom in much tribulation and difficulty as
long as his life continued. After his decease, all the peers
that were in London, and the citizens, chose Edmund king; who
bravely defended his kingdom while his time was. Then came the
ships to Greenwich, about the gang-days, and within a short
interval went to London; where they sunk a deep ditch on the
south side, and dragged their ships to the west side of the
bridge. Afterwards they trenched the city without, so that no
man could go in or out, and often fought against it: but the
citizens bravely withstood them. King Edmund had ere this gone
out, and invaded the West-Saxons, who all submitted to him; and
soon afterward he fought with the enemy at Pen near Gillingham.
A second battle he fought, after midsummer, at Sherston; where
much slaughter was made on either side, and the leaders
themselves came together in the fight. Alderman Edric and Aylmer
the darling were assisting the army against King Edmund. Then
collected he his force the third time, and went to London, all by
north of the Thames, and so out through Clayhanger, and relieved
the citizens, driving the enemy to their ships. It was within
two nights after that the king went over at Brentford; where he
fought with the enemy, and put them to flight: but there many of
the English were drowned, from their own carelessness; who went
before the main army with a design to plunder. After this the
king went into Wessex, and collected his army; but the enemy soon
returned to London, and beset the city without, and fought
strongly against it both by water and land. But the almighty God
delivered them. The enemy went afterward from London with their
ships into the Orwell; where they went up and proceeded into
Mercia, slaying and burning whatsoever they overtook, as their
custom is; and, having provided themselves with meat, they drove
their ships and their herds into the Medway. Then assembled King
Edmund the fourth time all the English nation, and forded over
the Thames at Brentford; whence he proceeded into Kent. The
enemy fled before him with their horses into the Isle of Shepey;
and the king slew as many of them as he could overtake. Alderman
Edric then went to meet the king at Aylesford; than which no
measure could be more ill-advised. The enemy, meanwhile,
returned into Essex, and advanced into Mercia, destroying all
that he overtook. When the king understood that the army was up,
then collected he the fifth time all the English nation, and went
behind them, and overtook them in Essex, on the down called
Assingdon; where they fiercely came together. Then did Alderman
Edric as he often did before -- he first began the flight with
the Maisevethians, and so betrayed his natural lord and all the
people of England. There had Knute the victory, though all
England fought against him! There was then slain Bishop Ednoth,
and Abbot Wulsy, and Alderman Elfric, and Alderman Godwin of
Lindsey, and Ulfkytel of East-Anglia, and Ethelward, the son of
Alderman Ethelsy.59 And all the nobility
of the English nation was there undone! After this fight went King Knute up
with his army into Glocestershire, where he heard say that King
Edmund was. Then advised Alderman Edric, and the counsellors
that were there assembled, that the kings should make peace with
each other, and produce hostages. Then both the kings met
together at Olney, south of Deerhurst, and became allies and
sworn brothers. There they confirmed their friendship both with
pledges and with oaths, and settled the pay of the army. With
this covenant they parted: King Edmund took to Wessex, and Knute
to Mercia and the northern district. The army then went to their
ships with the things they had taken; and the people of London
made peace with them, and purchased their security, whereupon
they brought their ships to London, and provided themselves
winter-quarters therein. On the feast of St. Andrew died King
Edmund; and he is buried with his grandfather Edgar at
Gastonbury. In the same year died Wulfgar, Abbot of Abingdon;
and Ethelsy took to the abbacy.
A.D. 1017. This year King Knute took to the whole government of
England, and divided it into four parts: Wessex for himself,
East-Anglia for Thurkyll, Mercia for Edric, Northumbria for Eric.
This year also was Alderman Edric slain at London, and Norman,
son of Alderman Leofwin, and Ethelward, son of Ethelmar the
Great, and Britric, son of Elfege of Devonshire. King Knute also
banished Edwy etheling, whom he afterwards ordered to be slain,
and Edwy, king of the churls; and before
the calends of August
the king gave an order to fetch him the widow of the other king,
Æthelred, the daughter of Richard, to wife.
A.D. 1017.* This year Canute was chosen king.
A.D. 1018. This year was the payment of the tribute over all
England; that was, altogether, two and seventy thousand pounds,
besides that which the citizens of London paid; and that was ten
thousand five hundred pounds. The army then went partly to
Denmark; and forty ships were left with King Knute. The Danes
and Angles were united at Oxford under Edgar’s law; and this year
died Abbot Ethelsy at Abingdon, to whom Ethelwine succeeded.
A.D. 1019. This year went King Knute with nine ships to Denmark,
where he abode all the winter; and Archbishop Elfstan died this
year, who was also named Lifing. He was a very upright man both
before God and before the world.
A.D. 1019.* And this
winter died Archbishop Elfstan [of
Canterbury]: he was named Living; and he was a very provident
man, both as to God and as to the world.
A.D. 1020. This year came King Knute back to England; and there
was at Easter a great council at Cirencester, where Alderman
Ethelward was outlawed, and Edwy, king of the churls. This year
went the king to Assingdon; with Earl Thurkyll, and Archbishop
Wulfstan, and other bishops, and also abbots, and many monks with
them; and he ordered to be built there a minster of stone and
lime, for the souls of the men who were there slain, and gave it
to his own priest, whose name was Stigand; and they consecrated
the minster at Assingdon. And Ethelnoth the monk, who had been
dean at Christ’s church, was the same year on the ides of
November consecrated Bishop of Christ’s church by Archbishop
A.D. 1020.* And caused
to be built there [Canterbury] a minster
of stone and lime, for the souls of the men who there were slain,
and gave it to one of his priests, whose name was Stigand.
A.D. 1021. This year King Knute, at Martinmas, outlawed Earl
Thurkyll; and Bishop Ælfgar, the abundant giver of alms, died in
the morning of Christmas day.
A.D. 1022. This year went King Knute out with his ships to the
Isle of Wight. And Bishop Ethelnoth went to Rome; where he was
received with much honour by Benedict the magnificent pope, who
with his own hand placed the pall upon him, and with great pomp
consecrated him archbishop, and blessed him, on the nones of
October. The archbishop on the self-same day with the same pall
performed mass, as the pope directed him, after which he was
magnificently entertained by the pope himself; and afterwards
with a full blessing proceeded homewards. Abbot Leofwine, who
had been unjustly expelled from Ely, was his companion; and he
cleared himself of everything, which, as the pope informed him,
had been laid to his charge, on the testimony of the archbishop
and of all the company that were with him.
A.D. 1022.* And afterwards
with the pall he there [at Rome]
performed mass as the pope instructed him: and he feasted after
that with the pope; and afterwards went home with a full
A.D. 1023. This year returned King Knute to England; and
Thurkyll and he were reconciled. He committed Denmark and his
son to the care of Thurkyll, whilst he took Thurkyll’s son with
him to England. This year died Archbishop Wulfstan; and Elfric
succeeded him; and Archbishop Egelnoth blessed him in Canterbury.
This year King Knute in London, in St. Paul’s minster, gave full
to Archbishop Ethelnoth, Bishop Britwine, and all God’s servants
that were with them, that they might take up from
the grave the archbishop, Saint Elphege. And they did so, on the
sixth day before the ides of June; and the illustrious king, and
the archbishop, and the diocesan bishops, and the earls, and very
many others, both clergy and laity, carried by ship his holy
corpse over the Thames to Southwark. And there they committed
the holy martyr to the archbishop and his companions; and they
with worthy pomp and sprightly joy carried him to Rochester.
There on the third day came the Lady Emma with her royal son
Hardacnute; and they all with much majesty, and bliss, and songs
of praise, carried the holy archbishop into Canterbury, and so
brought him gloriously into the church, on the third day before
the ides of June. Afterwards, on the eighth day, the seventeenth
before the calends of July, Archbishop Ethelnoth, and Bishop
Elfsy, and Bishop Britwine, and all they that were with them,
lodged the holy corpse of Saint Elphege on the north side of the
altar of Christ; to the praise of God, and to the glory of the
holy archbishop, and to the everlasting salvation of all those
who there his holy body daily seek with earnest heart and all
humility. May God Almighty have mercy on all Christian men
through the holy intercession of Elphege!
A.D. 1023.* And he
caused St. Elphege’s remains to be borne from London to Canterbury.