4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
A.D. 901. This year died ALFRED, the son of Ethelwulf, six nights before the mass of All Saints. He was king over all the English nation, except that part that was under the power of the Danes. He held the government one year and a half less than thirty winters; and then Edward his son took to the government. Then Prince Ethelwald, the son of his paternal uncle, rode against the towns of Winburn and of Twineham, without leave of the king and his council. Then rode the king with his army; so that he encamped the same night at Badbury near Winburn; and Ethelwald remained within the town with the men that were under him, and had all the gates shut upon him, saying, that he would either there live or there die. But in the meantime he stole away in the night, and sought the army in Northumberland. The king gave orders to ride after him; but they were not able to overtake him. The Danes, however, received him as their king. They then rode after the wife that Ethelwald had taken without the king's leave, and against the command of the bishops; for she was formerly consecrated a nun. In this year also died Ethered, who was alderman of Devonshire, four weeks before King Alfred.
A.D. 902. This year was the great fight at the Holme (39) between the men of Kent and the Danes.
((A.D. 902. This year Elswitha died.))
A.D. 903. This year died Alderman Ethelwulf, the brother of Elhswitha, mother of King Edward; and Virgilius abbot of the Scots; and Grimbald the mass-priest; on the eighth day of July. This same year was consecrated the new minster at Winchester, on St. Judoc's advent.
A.D. 904. This year came Ethelwald hither over sea with all the fleet that he could get, and he was submitted to in Essex. This year the moon was eclipsed.
A.D. 905. This year Ethelwald enticed the army in East-Anglia to rebellion; so that they overran all the land of Mercia, until they came to Cricklade, where they forded the Thames; and having seized, either in Bradon or thereabout, all that they could lay their hands upon, they went homeward again. King Edward went after, as soon as he could gather his army, and overran all their land between the foss and the Ouse quite to the fens northward. Then being desirous of returning thence, he issued an order through the whole army, that they should all go out at once. But the Kentish men remained behind, contrary to his order, though he had sent seven messengers to them. Whereupon the army surrounded them, and there they fought. There fell Aldermen Siwulf and Sigelm; Eadwold, the king's thane; Abbot Kenwulf; Sigebriht, the son of Siwulf; Eadwald, the son of Acca; and many also with them; though I have named the most considerable. On the Danish side were slain Eohric their king, and Prince Ethelwald, who had enticed them to the war. Byrtsige, the son of Prince Brihtnoth; Governor Ysop; Governor Oskytel; and very many also with them that we now cannot name. And there was on either hand much slaughter made; but of the Danes there were more slain, though they remained masters of the field. Ealswitha died this same year; and a comet appeared on the thirteenth day before the calends of November.
((A.D. 906. This year King Edward, from necessity, concluded a peace both with the army of East-Anglia and of North-humbria.))
A.D. 907. This year died Alfred, who was governor of Bath. The same year was concluded the peace at Hitchingford, as King Edward decreed, both with the Danes of East-Anglia, and those of Northumberland; and Chester was rebuilt.
A.D. 909. This year died Denulf, who was Bishop of Winchester; and the body of St. Oswald was translated from Bardney into Mercia.
A.D. 910. This year Frithestan took to the bishopric of Winchester; and Asser died soon after, who was Bishop 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 Bramsbury.
((A.D. 910. This year the army of the Angles and of the Danes fought at Tootenhall. And Ethelred, ealdor of the Mercians, died; and King Edward took possession of London, and of Oxford, and of all the lands which owed obedience thereto. And a great fleet came hither from the south, from the Lidwiccas (Brittany), and greatly ravaged by the Severn; but they were, afterwards, almost all perished.))
A.D. 911. This year the army in Northumberland broke the truce, and despised every right that Edward and his son demanded of them; and plundered the land of the Mercians. The king had gathered together about a hundred ships, and was then in Kent while the ships were sailing along sea by the south-east to meet him. The army therefore supposed that the greatest part of his force was in the ships, and that they might go, without being attacked, where that ever they would. When the king learned on enquiry that they were gone out on plunder, he sent his army both from Wessex and Mercia; and they came up with the rear of the enemy as he was on his way homeward, and there fought with him and put him to flight, and slew many thousands of his men. There fell King Eowils, and King Healfden; Earls Ohter and Scurf; Governors Agmund, Othulf, and Benesing; Anlaf the Swarthy, and Governor Thunferth; Osferth the collector, and Governor Guthferth.
((A.D. 911. Then the next year after this died Ethelred, lord of the Mercians.))
A.D. 912. This year died Ethered, alderman of Mercia; and King Edward took to London, and to Oxford, and to all the lands that thereunto belonged. This year also came Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, on the holy eve called the invention of the holy cross, to Shergate, and built the fortress there, and the same year that at Bridgenorth.
A.D. 913. This year, about Martinmas, King Edward had the northern fortress built at Hertford, betwixt the Memer, and the Benwic, and the Lea. After this, in the summer, betwixt gang- days and midsummer, went King Edward with some of his force into Essex, to Maldon; and encamped there the while that men built and fortified the town of Witham. And many of the people submitted to him, who were before under the power of the Danes. And some of his force, meanwhile, built the fortress at Hertford on the south side of the Lea. This year by the permission of God went Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, with all the Mercians to Tamworth; and built the fort there in the fore-part of the summer; and before Lammas that at Stafford: in the next year that at Eddesbury, in the beginning of the summer; and the same year, late in the autumn, that at Warwick. Then in the following year was built, after mid-winter, that at Chirbury and that at Warburton; and the same year before mid-winter that at Runkorn.
((A.D. 915. This year was Warwick built.))
A.D. 916. This year was the innocent Abbot Egbert slain, before midsummer, on the sixteenth day before the calends of July. The same day was the feast of St. Ciricius the martyr, with his companions. And within three nights sent Ethelfleda an army into Wales, and stormed Brecknock; and there took the king's wife, with some four and thirty others.
A.D. 917. This year rode the army, after Easter, out of Northampton and Leicester; and having broken the truce they slew many men at Hookerton and thereabout. Then, very soon after this, as the others came home, they found other troops that were riding out against Leighton. But the inhabitants were aware of it; and having fought with them they put them into full flight; and arrested all that they had taken, and also of their horses and of their weapons a good deal.
A.D. 918. This year came a great naval armament over hither south from the Lidwiccians; (40) and two earls with it, Ohter and Rhoald. They went then west about, till they entered the mouth of the Severn; and plundered in North-Wales everywhere by the sea, where it then suited them; and took Camlac the bishop in Archenfield, and led him with them to their ships; whom King Edward afterwards released for forty pounds. After this went the army all up; and would proceed yet on plunder against Archenfield; but the men of Hertford met them, and of Glocester, and of the nighest towns; and fought with them, and put them to flight; and they slew the Earl Rhoald, and the brother of Ohter the other earl, and many of the army. And they drove them into a park; and beset them there without, until they gave them hostages, that they would depart from the realm of King Edward. And the king had contrived that a guard should be set against them on the south side of Severnmouth; west from Wales, eastward to the mouth of the Avon; so that they durst nowhere seek that land on that side. Nevertheless, they eluded them at night, by stealing up twice; at one time to the east of Watchet, and at another time at Porlock. There was a great slaughter each time; so that few of them came away, except those only who swam out to the ships. Then sat they outward on an island, called the Flat- holms; till they were very short of meat, and many men died of hunger, because they could not reach any meat. Thence went they to Dimmet, and then out to Ireland. This was in harvest. After this, in the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward to Buckingham with his army, and sat there four weeks, during which he built the two forts on either side of the water, ere he departed thence. And Earl Thurkytel sought him for his lord; and all the captains, and almost all the first men that belonged to Bedford; and also many of those that belonged to Northampton. This year Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, with the help of God, before Laminas, conquered the town called Derby, with all that thereto belonged; and there were also slain four of her thanes, that were most dear to her, within the gates.
((A.D. 918. But very shortly after they had become so, she died at Tamworth, twelve days before midsummer, the eighth year of her having rule and right lordship over the Mercians; and her body lies at Gloucester, within the east porch of St. Peter's church.))
A.D. 919. This year King Edward went with his army to Bedford, before Martinmas, and conquered the town; and almost all the burgesses, who obeyed him before, returned to him; and he sat there four weeks, and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the water, ere he departed thence.
((A.D. 919. This year also the daughter of Ethelred, lord of the Mercians, was deprived of all dominion over the Mercians, and carried into Wessex, three weeks before mid-winter; she was called Elfwina.))
A.D. 920. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward to Maldon; and repaired and fortified the town, ere he departed thence. And the same year went Earl Thurkytel over sea to Frankland with the men who would adhere to him, under the protection and assistance of King Edward. This year Ethelfleda got into her power, with God's assistance, in the early part of the year, without loss, the town of Leicester; and the greater part of the army that belonged thereto submitted to her. And the Yorkists had also promised and confirmed, some by agreement and some with oaths, that they would be in her interest. But very soon after they had done this, she departed, twelve nights before midsummer, at Tamworth, the eighth year that she was holding the government of the Mercians with right dominion; and her body lieth at Glocester, in the east porch of St. Peter's church. This year also was the daughter of Ethered, lord of the Mercians, deprived of all authority over the Mercians, and led into Wessex, three weeks before midwinter. Her name was Healfwina.
A.D. 921. This year, before Easter, King Edward ordered his men to go to the town of Towcester, and to rebuild it. Then again, after that, in the same year, during the gang-days, he ordered the town of Wigmore to be repaired. The same summer, betwixt Lammas and midsummer, the army broke their parole from Northampton and from Leicester; and went thence northward to Towcester, and fought against the town all day, and thought that they should break into it; but the people that were therein defended it, till more aid came to them; and the enemy then abandoned the town, and went away. Then again, very soon after this, they went out at night for plunder, and came upon men unaware, and seized not a little, both in men and cattle, betwixt Burnham-wood and Aylesbury. At the same time went the army from Huntington and East-Anglia, and constructed that work at Ternsford; which they inhabited and fortified; and abandoned the other at Huntingdon; and thought that they should thence oft with war and contention recover a good deal of this land. Thence they advanced till they came to Bedford; where the men who were within came out against them, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and slew a good number of them. Then again, after this, a great army yet collected itself from East-Anglia and from Mercia, and went to the town of Wigmore; which they besieged without, and fought against long in the day; and took the cattle about it; but the men defended the town, who were within; and the enemy left the town, and went away. After this, the same summer, a large force collected itself in King Edward's dominions, from the nighest towns that could go thither, and went to Temsford; and they beset the town, and fought thereon; until they broke into it, and slew the king, and Earl Toglos, and Earl Mann his son, and his brother, and all them that were therein, and who were resolved to defend it; and they took the others, and all that was therein. After this, a great force collected soon in harvest, from Kent, from Surrey, from Essex, and everywhere from the nighest towns; and went to Colchester, and beset the town, and fought thereon till they took it, and slew all the people, and seized all that was therein; except those men who escaped therefrom over the wall. After this again, this same harvest, a great army collected itself from East-Anglia, both of the land- forces and of the pirates, which they had enticed to their assistance, and thought that they should wreak their vengeance. They went to Maldon, and beset the town, and fought thereon, until more aid came to the townsmen from without to help. The enemy then abandoned the town, and went from it. And the men went after, out of the town, and also those that came from without to their aid; and put the army to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, both of the pirates and of the others. Soon after this, the same harvest, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Passham; and sat there the while that men fortified the town of Towcester with a stone wall. And there returned to him Earl Thurferth, and the captains, and all the army that belonged to Northampton northward to the Welland, and sought him for their lord and protector. When this division of the army went home, then went another out, and marched to the town of Huntingdon; and repaired and renewed it, where it was broken down before, by command of King Edward. And all the people of the country that were left submitted to King Edward, and sought his peace and protection. After this, the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Colchester; and repaired and renewed the town, where it was broken down before. And much people turned to him. both in East- Anglia and in Essex, that were before under the power of the Danes. And all the army in East-Anglia swore union with him; that they would all that he would, and would protect all that he protected, either by sea or land. And the army that belonged to Cambridge chose him separately for their lord and protector, and confirmed the same with oaths, as he had advised. This year King Edward repaired the town of Gladmouth; and the same year King Sihtric slew Neil his brother.
A.D. 922. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with his army to Stamford, and ordered the town to be fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought him for their lord. It was whilst he was tarrying there, that Ethelfleda his sister died at Tamworth, twelve nights before midsummer. Then rode he to the borough of Tamworth; and all the population in Mercia turned to him, who before were subject to Ethelfleda. And the kings in North-Wales, Howel, and Cledauc, and Jothwel, and all the people of North-Wales, sought him for their lord. Then went he thence to Nottingham, and secured that borough, and ordered it to be repaired, and manned both with English and with Danes. And all the population turned to him, that was settled in Mercia, both Danish and English.
A.D. 923. This year went King Edward with an army, late in the harvest, to Thelwall; and ordered the borough to be repaired, and inhabited, and manned. And he ordered another army also from the population of Mercia, the while he sat there to go to Manchester in Northumbria, to repair and to man it. This year died Archbishop Plegmund; and King Reynold won York.
A.D. 924. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over the Trent betwixt the two towns. Thence he went to Bakewell in Peakland; and ordered a fort to be built as near as possible to it, and manned. And the King of Scotland, with all his people, chose him as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the Strathclydwallians, and all his people.
((A.D. 924. This year Edward was chosen for father and for lord by the king of the Scots, and by the Scots, and King Reginald, and by all the North-humbrians, and also the king of the Strath-clyde Britons, and by all the Strath-clyde Britons.))
((A.D. 924. This year King Edward died among the Mercians at Farndon; and very shortly, about sixteen days after this, Elward his son died at Oxford; and their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king by the Mercians, and consecrated at Kingston. And he gave his sister to Ofsae (Otho), son of the king of the Old-Saxons.))
A.D. 925. This year died King Edward at Farndon in Mercia; and Elward his son died very soon after this, in Oxford. Their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king in Mercia, and consecrated at Kingston. He gave his sister to Otho, son of the king of the Old-Saxons. St. Dunstan was now born; and Wulfhelm took to the archbishopric in Canterbury. This year King Athelstan and Sihtric king of the Northumbrians came together at Tamworth, the sixth day before the calends of February, and Athelstan gave away his sister to him.
((A.D. 925. This year Bishop Wulfhelm was consecrated. And that same year King Edward died.))
A.D. 926. This year appeared fiery lights in the northern part of the firmament; and Sihtric departed; and King Athelstan took to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that were in this island: -- First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Emmet, on the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.
A.D. 927. This year King Athelstan expelled King Guthfrith; and Archbishop Wulfhelm went to Rome.
A.D. 928. William took to Normandy, and held it fifteen years.
((A.D. 931. This year died Frithstan, Bishop of Winchester, and Brinstan was blessed in his place.))
A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester on the fourth day before the calends of June; and he held the bishopric two years and a half.
A.D. 933. This year died Bishop Frithestan; and Edwin the atheling was drowned in the sea.
A.D. 934. This year went King Athelstan into Scotland, both with a land-force and a naval armament, and laid waste a great part of it; and Bishop Burnstan died at Winchester at the feast of All Saints.
A.D. 935. This year Bishop Elfheah took to the bishopric of Winchester.
((A.D. 937. This year King Athelstan and Edmund his brother led a force to Brumby, and there fought against Anlaf; and, Christ helping, had the victory: and they there slew five kings and seven earls.))
A.D. 938. Here Athelstan king, of earls the lord, rewarder of heroes, and his brother eke, Edmund atheling, elder of ancient race, slew in the fight, with the edge of their swords, the foe at Brumby! The sons of Edward their board-walls clove, and hewed their banners, with the wrecks of their hammers. So were they taught by kindred zeal, that they at camp oft 'gainst any robber their land should defend, their hoards and homes. Pursuing fell the Scottish clans; the men of the fleet in numbers fell; 'midst the din of the field the warrior swate. Since the sun was up in morning-tide, gigantic light! glad over grounds, God's candle bright, eternal Lord! -- 'till the noble creature sat in the western main: there lay many of the Northern heroes under a shower of arrows, shot over shields; and Scotland's boast, a Scythian race, the mighty seed of Mars! With chosen troops, throughout the day, the West-Saxons fierce press'd on the loathed bands; hew'd down the fugitives, and scatter'd the rear, with strong mill-sharpen'd blades, The Mercians too the hard hand-play spared not to any of those that with Anlaf over the briny deep in the ship's bosom sought this land for the hardy fight. Five kings lay on the field of battle, in bloom of youth, pierced with swords. So seven eke of the earls of Anlaf; and of the ship's-crew unnumber'd crowds. There was dispersed the little band of hardy Scots, the dread of northern hordes; urged to the noisy deep by unrelenting fate! The king of the fleet with his slender craft escaped with his life on the felon flood; -- and so too Constantine, the valiant chief, returned to the north in hasty flight. The hoary Hildrinc cared not to boast among his kindred. Here was his remnant of relations and friends slain with the sword in the crowded fight. His son too he left on the field of battle, mangled with wounds, young at the fight. The fair-hair'd youth had no reason to boast of the slaughtering strife. Nor old Inwood and Anlaf the more with the wrecks of their army could laugh and say, that they on the field of stern command better workmen were, in the conflict of banners, the clash of spears, the meeting of heroes, and the rustling of weapons, which they on the field of slaughter played with the sons of Edward. The northmen sail'd in their nailed ships, a dreary remnant, on the roaring sea; over deep water Dublin they sought, and Ireland's shores, in great disgrace. Such then the brothers both together king and atheling, sought their country, West-Saxon land, in right triumphant. They left behind them raw to devour, the sallow kite, the swarthy raven with horny nib, and the hoarse vultur, with the eagle swift to consume his prey; the greedy gos-hawk, and that grey beast the wolf of the weald. No slaughter yet was greater made e'er in this island, of people slain, before this same, with the edge of the sword; as the books inform us of the old historians; since hither came from the eastern shores the Angles and Saxons, over the broad sea, and Britain sought, -- fierce battle-smiths, o'ercame the Welsh, most valiant earls, and gained the land.
A.D. 941. This year King Athelstan died in Glocester, on the sixth day before the calends of November, about forty-one winters, bating one night, from the time when King Alfred died. And Edmund Atheling took to the kingdom. He was then eighteen years old. King Athelstan reigned fourteen years and ten weeks. This year the Northumbrians abandoned their allegiance, and chose Anlaf of Ireland for their king.
((A.D. 941. This year King Edmund received King Anlaf at baptism; and that same year, a good long space after, he received King Reginald at the bishop's hands.))
A.D. 942. Here Edmund king, of Angles lord, protector of friends, author and framer of direful deeds. o'erran with speed the Mercian land. whete'er the course of Whitwell-spring, or Humber deep, The broad brim-stream, divides five towns. Leicester and Lincoln. Nottingham and Stamford, and Derby eke. In thraldom long to Norman Danes they bowed through need, and dragged the chains of heathen men; till, to his glory, great Edward's heir, Edmund the king, refuge of warriors, their fetters broke.
A.D. 943. This year Anlaf stormed Tamworth; and much slaughter was made on either hand; but the Danes had the victory, and led away with them much plunder. There was Wulfrun taken, in the spoiling of the town. This year King Edmund beset King Anlaf and Archbishop Wulfstan in Leicester; and he might have conquered them, were it not that they burst out of the town in the night. After this Anlaf obtained the friendship of King Edmund, and King Edmund then received King Anlaf in baptism; and he made him royal presents. And the same year, after some interval, he received King Reynold at episcopal hands. This year also died King Anlaf.
A.D. 944. This year King Edmund reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion, and expelled two kings, Anlaf the son of Sihtric, and Reynold the son of Guthferth.
A.D. 945. This year King Edmund overran all Cumberland; and let it all to Malcolm king of the Scots, on the condition that he became his ally, both by sea and land.
A.D. 946. This year King Edmund died, on St. Augustine's mass day. That was widely known, how he ended his days: -- that Leof stabbed him at Pucklechurch. And Ethelfleda of Damerham, daughter of Alderman Elgar, was then his queen. And he reigned six years and a half: and then succeeded to the kingdom Edred Atheling his brother, who soon after reduced all the land of the Northumbrians to his dominion; and the Scots gave him oaths, that they would do all that he desired.
A.D. 947. This year came King Edred to Tadden's-cliff; and there Archbishop Wulfstan and all the council of the Northumbrians bound themselves to an allegiance with the king. And within a little space they abandoned all, both allegiance and oaths.
A.D. 948. This year King Edred overran all Northumberland; because they had taken Eric for their king; and in the pursuit of plunder was that large minster at Rippon set on fire, which St. Wilferth built. As the king returned homeward, he overtook the enemy at York; but his main army was behind at Chesterford. There was great slaughter made; and the king was so wroth, that he would fain return with his force, and lay waste the land withal; but when the council of the Northumbrians understood that, they then abandoned Eric, and compromised the deed with King Edred.
A.D. 949. This year came Anlaf Curran to the land of the Northumbrians.
A.D. 951. This year died Elfeah, Bishop of Winchester, on St. Gregory's mass day.
A.D. 952. This year the Northumbrians expelled King Anlaf, and received Eric the son of Harold. This year also King Edred ordered Archbishop Wulfstan to be brought into prison at Jedburgh; because he was oft bewrayed before the king: and the same year the king ordered a great slaughter to be made in the town of Thetford, in revenge of the abbot, whom they had formerly slain.
A.D. 954. This year the Northumbrians expelled Eric; and King Edred took to the government of the Northumbrians. This year also Archbishop Wulfstan received a bishopric again at Dorchester.
A.D. 955. This year died King Edred, on St. Clement's mass day, at Frome.(41) He reigned nine years and a half; and he rests in the old minster. Then succeeded Edwy, the son of King Edmund, to the government of the West-Saxons; and Edgar Atheling, his brother, succeeded to the government of the Mercians. They were the sons of King Edmund and of St. Elfgiva.
((A.D. 955. And Edwy succeeded to the kingdom of the West- Saxons, and Edgar his brother succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians: and they were the sons of King Edmund and of S. Elfgiva.))
A.D. 956. This year died Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, on the seventeenth day before the calends of January; and he was buried at Oundle; and in the same year was Abbot Dunstan driven out of this land over sea.
A.D. 958. This year Archbishop Oda separated King Edwy and Elfgiva; because they were too nearly related.
A.D. 959. This year died King Edwy, on the calends of October; and Edgar his brother took to the government of the West-Saxons, Mercians, and Northumbrians. He was then sixteen years old. It was in this year he sent after St. Dunstan, and gave him the bishopric of Worcester; and afterwards the bishopric of London. In his days it prosper'd well; and God him gave, that he dwelt in peace the while that he lived. Whate'er he did, whate'er he plan'd, he earn'd his thrift. He also rear'd God's glory wide, and God's law lov'd, with peace to man, above the kings that went before in man's remembrance. God so him sped, that kings and earls to all his claims submissive bow'd; and to his will without a blow he wielded all as pleased himself. Esteem'd he was both far and wide in distant lands; because he prized the name of God, and God's law traced, God's glory rear'd, both far and wide, on every side. Wisely he sought in council oft his people's good, before his God, before the world. One misdeed he did, too much however, that foreign tastes he loved too much; and heathen modes in
to this land he brought too fast; outlandish men hither enticed; and to this earth attracted crowds of vicious men. But God him grant, that his good deeds be weightier far than his misdeeds, to his soul's redemption on the judgment-day.
A.D. 961. This year departed Odo, the good archbishop, and St. Dunstan took to the archbishopric. This year also died Elfgar, a relative of the king, in Devonshire; and his body lies at Wilton: and King Sifferth killed himself; and his body lies at Wimborn. This year there was a very great pestilence; when the great fever was in London; and St. Paul's minster was consumed with fire, and in the same year was afterwards restored. In this year Athelmod. the masspriest, went to Rome, and there died on the eighteenth before the calends of September.
A.D. 963. This year died Wulfstan, the deacon, on Childermass- day; (42) and afterwards died Gyric, the mass-priest. In the same year took Abbot Athelwold to the bishopric of Winchester; and he was consecrated on the vigil of St. Andrew, which happened on a Sunday. On the second year after he was consecrated, he made many minsters; and drove out the clerks (43) from the bishopric, because they would hold no rule, and set monks therein. He made there two abbacies; one of monks, another of nuns. That was all within Winchester. Then came he afterwards to King Edgar, and requested that he would give him all the minsters that heathen men had before destroyed; for that he would renew them. This the king cheerfully granted; and the bishop came then first to Ely, where St. Etheldritha lies, and ordered the minster to be repaired; which he gave to a monk of his, whose name was Britnoth, whom he consecrated abbot: and there he set monks to serve God, where formerly were nuns. He then bought many villages of the king, and made it very rich. Afterwards came Bishop Athelwold to the minster called Medhamsted, which was formerly ruined by heathen folk; but he found there nothing but old walls, and wild woods. In the old walls at length he found hid writings which Abbot Hedda had formerly written; -- how King Wulfhere and Ethelred his brother had wrought it, and how they freed it against king and against bishop, and against all worldly service; and how Pope Agatho confirmed it with his writ, as also Archbishop Deusdedit. He then ordered the minster to be rebuilt; and set there an abbot, who was called Aldulf; and made monks, where before was nothing. He then came to the king, and let him look at the writings which before were found; and the king then answered and said: "I Edgar grant and give to-day, before God and before Archbishop Dunstan, freedom to St. Peter's minster at Medhamsted, from king and from bishop; and all the thorps that thereto lie; that is, Eastfield, and Dodthorp, and Eye, and Paston. And so I free it, that no bishop have any jurisdiction there, but the abbot of the minster alone. And I give the town called Oundle, with all that thereto lieth, called Eyot-hundred, with market and toll; so freely, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor sheriff, have there any jurisdiction; nor any man but the abbot alone, and whom he may set thereto. And I give to Christ and St. Peter, and that too with the advice of Bishop Athelwold, these lands; -- that is, Barrow, Warmington, Ashton, Kettering, Castor, Eylesworth, Walton, Witherington, Eye, Thorp, and a minster at Stamford. These lands and al the others that belong to the minster I bequeath clear; that is, with sack and sock, toll and team, and infangthief; these privileges and all others bequeath I clear to Christ and St. Peter. And I give the two parts of Whittlesey-mere, with waters and with wears and fens; and so through Meerlade along to the water that is called Nen; and so eastward to Kingsdelf. And I will that there be a market in the town itself, and that no other be betwixt Stamford and Huntingdon. And I will that thus be given the toll; -- first, from Whittlesey-mere to the king's toll of Norman-cross hundred; then backward again from Whittlesey-mere through Meerlade along to the Nen, and as that river runs to Crowland; and from Crowland to Must, and from Must to Kingsdelf and to Whittlesey-mere. And I will that all the freedom, and all the privileges, that my predecessors gave, should remain; and I write and confirm this with the rood-token of Christ." (+) -- Then answered Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and said: "I grant, that all the things that here are given and spoken, and all the things that thy predecessors and mine have given, shall remain firm; and whosoever breaketh it, then give I him God's curse, and that of all saints, and of all hooded heads, and mine, unless he come to repentance. And I give expressly to St. Peter my mass-hackle, and my stole, and my reef, to serve Christ." "I Oswald, Archbishop of York, confirm all these words through the holy rood on which Christ was crucified." (+) "I Bishop Athelwold bless all that maintain this, and I excommunicate all that break it, unless they come to repentance." -- Here was Bishop Ellstan, Bishop Athulf, and Abbot Eskwy, and Abbot Osgar, and Abbot Ethelgar, and Alderman Elfere; .Alderman Ethelwin, Britnoth and Oslac aldermen, and many other rich men; and all confirmed it and subscribed it with the cross of Christ. (+) This was done in the year after our Lord's Nativity 972, the sixteenth year of this king. Then bought the Abbot Aldulf lands rich and many, and much endowed the minster withal; and was there until Oswald, Archbishop of York, was dead; and then he was chosen to be archbishop. Soon after another abbot was chosen of the same monastery, whose name was Kenulf, who was afterwards Bishop of Winchester. He first made the wall about the minster, and gave it then the name of Peterborough, which before was Medhamsted. He was there till he was appointed Bishop of Winchester, when another abbot was chosen of the same monastery, whose name was Elfsy, who continued abbot fifty winters afterwards. It was he who took up St. Kyneburga and St. Kyneswitha, that lay at Castor, and St. Tibba, that lay at Ryhall; and brought them to Peterborough, and offered them all to St. Peter in one day, and preserved them all the while he was there.
((A.D. 963. This year, by King Edgar, St. Ethelwold was chosen to the bishoprick at Winchester. And the Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Dunstan, consecrated him bishop on the first Sunday of Advent; that was on the third before the kalends of December.))
A.D. 964. This year drove King Edgar the priests of Winchester out of the old minster, and also out of the new minster; and from Chertsey; and from Milton; and replaced them with monks. And he appointed Ethelgar abbot to the new minster, and Ordbert to Chertsey, and Cyneward to Milton.
((A.D. 964. This year were the canons driven out of the Old-minster by King Edgar, and also from the New-minster, and from Chertsey and from Milton; and he appointed thereto monks and abbots: to the New-minster Ethelgar, to Chertsey Ordbert, to Milton Cyneward.))
A.D. 965. This year King Edgar took Elfrida for his queen, who was daughter of Alderman Ordgar.
A.D. 966. This year Thored, the son of Gunner, plundered Westmorland; and the same year Oslac took to the aldermanship.
A.D. 969. This year King Edgar ordered all Thanet-land to be plundered.
A.D. 970. This year died Archbishop Oskytel; who was first consecrated diocesan bishop at Dorchester, and afterwards it was by the consent of King Edred and all his council that he was consecrated Archbishop of York. He was bishop two and twenty winters; and he died on Alhallow-mas night, ten nights before Martinmas, at Thame. Abbot Thurkytel, his relative, carried the bishop's body to Bedford, because he was the abbot there at that time.
A.D. 971. This year died Edmund Atheling, and his body lies at Rumsey.
((A.D. 972. This year Edgar the etheling was consecrated king at Bath, on Pentecost's mass-day, on the fifth before the ides of May, the thirteenth year since he had obtained the kingdom; and he was then one less than thirty years of age. And soon after that, the king led all his ship-forces to Chester; and there came to meet him six kings, and they all plighted their troth to him, that they would be his fellow-workers by sea and by land.))
A.D. 973. Here was Edgar, of Angles lord, with courtly pomp hallow'd to king at Akemancester, the ancient city; whose modern sons, dwelling therein, have named her BATH. Much bliss was there by all enjoyed on that happy day, named Pentecost by men below. A crowd of priests, a throng of monks, I understand, in counsel sage, were gather'd there. Then were agone ten hundred winters of number'd years from the birth of Christ, the lofty king, guardian of light, save that thereto there yet was left of winter-tale, as writings say, seven and twenty. So near had run of the lord of triumphs a thousand years, when this was done. Nine and twenty hard winters there of irksome deeds had Edmund's son seen in the world, when this took place, and on the thirtieth was hallow'd king. (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.
A.D. 975. Here ended his earthly dreams Edgar, of Angles king; chose him other light, serene and lovely, spurning this frail abode, a life that mortals here call lean he quitted with disdain. July the month, by all agreed in this our land, whoever were in chronic lore correctly taught; the day the eighth, when Edgar young, rewarder of heroes, his life -- his throne -- resigned. Edward his son, unwaxen child, of earls the prince, succeeded then to England's throne. Of royal race ten nights before departed hence Cyneward the good -- prelate of manners mild. Well known to me in Mercia then, how low on earth God's glory fell on every side: chaced from the land, his servants fled, -- their wisdom scorned; much grief to him whose bosom glow'd with fervent love of great Creation's Lord! Neglected then the God of wonders, victor of victors, monarch of heaven, -- his laws by man transgressed! Then too was driv'n Oslac beloved an exile far from his native land over the rolling waves, -- over the ganet-bath, over the water-throng, the abode of the whale, -- fair-hair'd hero, wise and eloquent, of home bereft! Then too was seen, high in the heavens, the star on his station, that far and wide wise men call -- lovers of truth and heav'nly lore -- "cometa" by name. Widely was spread God's vengeance then throughout the land, and famine scour'd the hills. May heaven's guardian, the glory of angels, avert these ills, and give us bliss again; that bliss to all abundance yields from earth's choice fruits, throughout this happy isle. (45)
((A.D. 975. The eighth before the ides of July. Here Edgar died, ruler of Angles, West-Saxons' joy, and Mercians' protector. Known was it widely throughout many nations. "Thaet" offspring of Edmund, o'er the ganet's-bath, honoured far, Kings him widely bowed to the king, as was his due by kind. No fleet was so daring, nor army so strong, that 'mid the English nation took from him aught, the while that the noble king ruled on his throne. And this year Edward, Edgar's son, succeeded to the kingdom; and then soon, in the same year, during harvest, appeared "cometa" the star; and then came in the following year a very great famine, and very manifold commotions among the English people. In his days, for his youth, God's gainsayers God's law broke; Eldfere, ealdorman, and others many; and rule monastic quashed, and minsters dissolved, and monks drove out, and God's servants put down, whom Edgar, king, ordered erewhile the holy bishop Ethelwold to stablish; and widows they plundered, many times and oft: and many unrighteousnesses, and evil unjust-deeds arose up afterwards: and ever after that it greatly grew in evil. And at that rime, also, was Oslac the great earl banished from England.))
A.D. 976. This year was the great famine in England.
A.D. 977. This year was that great council at Kirtlington, (46) after Easter; and there died Bishop Sideman a sudden death, on the eleventh day before the calends of May. He was Bishop of Devonshire; and he wished that his resting-place should be at Crediton, his episcopal residence; but King Edward and Archbishop Dunstan ordered men to carry him to St. Mary's minster that is at Abingdon. And they did so; and he is moreover honourably buried on the north side in St. Paul's porch.
A.D. 978. This year all the oldest counsellors of England fell at Calne from an upper floor; but the holy Archbishop Dunstan stood alone upon a beam. Some were dreadfully bruised: and some did not escape with life. This year was King Edward slain, at eventide, at Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth day before the calends of April. And he was buried at Wareham without any royal honour. No worse deed than this was ever done by the English nation since they first sought the land of Britain. Men murdered him but God has magnified him. He was in life an earthly king -- he is now after death a heavenly saint. Him would not his earthly relatives avenge -- but his heavenly father has avenged him amply. The earthly homicides would wipe out his memory from the earth -- but the avenger above has spread his memory abroad in heaven and in earth. Those, Who would not before bow to his living body, now bow on their knees to His dead bones. Now we may conclude, that the wisdom of men, and their meditations, and their counsels, are as nought against the appointment of God. In this same year succeeded Ethelred Etheling, his brother, to the government; and he was afterwards very readily, and with great joy to the counsellors of England, consecrated king at Kingston. In the same year also died Alfwold, who was Bishop of Dorsetshire, and whose body lieth in the minster at Sherborn.
A.D. 979. In this year was Ethelred consecrated king, on the Sunday fortnight after Easter, at Kingston. And there were at his consecration two archbishops, and ten diocesan bishops. This same year was seen a bloody welkin oft-times in the likeness of fire; and that was most apparent at midnight, and so in misty beams was shown; but when it began to dawn, then it glided away.
((A.D. 979. This year was King Edward slain at even-tide, at Corfe-gate, on the fifteenth before the kalends of April, and then was he buried at Wareham, without any kind of kingly honours. There has not been 'mid Angles a worse deed done than this was, since they first Britain-land sought. Men him murdered, but God him glorified. He was in life an earthly king; he is now after death a heavenly saint. Him would not his earthly kinsmen avenge, but him hath his heavenly Father greatly avenged. The earthly murderers would his memory on earth blot out, but the lofty Avenger hath his memory in the heavens and on earth wide-spread. They who would not erewhile to his living body bow down, they now humbly on knees bend to his dead bones. Now we may understand that men's wisdom and their devices, and their councils, are like nought 'gainst God's resolves. This year Ethelred succeeded to the kingdom; and he was very quickly after that, with much joy of the English witan, consecrated king at Kingston.))
A.D. 980. In this year was Ethelgar consecrated bishop, on the sixth day before the nones of May, to the bishopric of Selsey; and in the same year was Southampton plundered by a pirate-army, and most of the population slain or imprisoned. And the same year was the Isle of Thanet overrun, and the county of Chester was plundered by the pirate-army of the North. In this year Alderman Alfere fetched the body of the holy King Edward at Wareham, and carried him with great solemnity to Shaftsbury.
A.D. 981. In this year was St. Petroc's-stow plundered; and in the same year was much harm done everywhere by the sea-coast, both upon Devonshire and Wales. And in the same year died Elfstan, Bishop of Wiltshire; and his body lieth in the minster at Abingdon; and Wulfgar then succeeded to the bishopric. The same year died Womare, Abbot of Ghent.
((A.D. 981. This year came first the seven ships, and ravaged Southampton.))
A.D. 982. In this year came up in Dorsetshire three ships of the pirates, and plundered in Portland. The same year London was burned. In the same year also died two aldermen, Ethelmer in Hampshire, and Edwin in Sussex. Ethelmer's body lieth in Winchester, at New-minster, and Edwin's in the minster at Abingdon. The same year died two abbesses in Dorsetshire; Herelufa at Shaftsbury, and Wulfwina at Wareham. The same year went Otho, emperor of the Romans, into Greece; and there met he a great army of the Saracens, who came up from the sea, and would have proceeded forthwith to plunder the Christian folk; but the emperor fought with them. And there was much slaughter made on either side, but the emperor gained the field of battle. He was there, however, much harassed, ere he returned thence; and as he went homeward, his brother's son died, who was also called Otho; and he was the son of Leodulf Atheling. This Leodulf was the son of Otho the Elder and of the daughter of King Edward.
A.D. 983. This year died Alderman Alfere, and Alfric succeeded to the same eldership; and Pope Benedict also died.
A.D. 984. This year died the benevolent Bishop of Winchester, Athelwold, father of monks; and the consecration of the following bishop, Elfheah, who by another name was called Godwin, was on the fourteenth day before the calends of November; and he took his seat on the episcopal bench on the mass-day of the two apostles Simon and Jude, at Winchester.
A.D. 985. This year was Alderman Alfric driven out of the land; and in the same year was Edwin consecrated abbot of the minster at Abingdon.
A.D. 986. This year the king invaded the bishopric of Rochester; and this year came first the great murrain of cattle in England.
A.D. 987. This year was the port of Watchet plundered.
A.D. 988. This year was Goda, the thane of Devonshire, slain; and a great number with him: and Dunstan, the holy archbishop, departed this life, and sought a heavenly one. Bishop Ethelgar succeeded him in the archbishopric; but he lived only a little while after, namely, one year and three months.
A.D. 989. This year died Abbot Edwin, and Abbot Wulfgar succeeded to the abbacy. Siric was this year invested archbishop, and went afterwards to Rome after his pall.
A.D. 991. This year was Ipswich plundered; and very soon afterwards was Alderman Britnoth (47) slain at Maidon. In this same year it was resolved that tribute should be given, for the first time, to the Danes, for the great terror they occasioned by the sea-coast. That was first 10,000 pounds. The first who advised this measure was Archbishop Siric.
A.D. 992. This year the blessed Archbishop Oswald departed this life, and sought a heavenly one; and in the same year died Alderman Ethelwin. Then the king and all his council resolved, that all the ships that were of any account should be gathered together at London; and the king committed the lead of the land- force to Alderman Elfric, and Earl Thorod, and Bishop Elfstan, and Bishop Escwy; that they should try if they could anywhere without entrap the enemy. Then sent Alderman Elfric, and gave warning to the enemy; and on the night preceding the day of battle he sculked away from the army, to his great disgrace. The enemy then escaped; except the crew of one ship, who were slain on the spot. Then met the enemy the ships from East-Anglia, and from London; and there a great slaughter was made, and they took the ship in which was the alderman, all armed and rigged. Then, after the death of Archbishop Oswald, succeeded Aldulf, Abbot of Peterborough, to the sees of York and of Worcester; and Kenulf to the abbacy of Peterborough.
((A.D. 992. This year Oswald the blessed archbishop died, and Abbot Eadulf succeeded to York and to Worcester. And this year the king and all his witan decreed that all the ships which were worth anything should be gathered together at London, in order that they might try if they could anywhere betrap the army from without. But Aelfric the ealdorman, one of those in whom the king had most confidence, directed the army to be warned; and in the night, as they should on the morrow have joined battle, the selfsame Aelfric fled from the forces; and then the army escaped.))
A.D. 993. This year came Anlaf with three and ninety ships to Staines, which he plundered without, and went thence to Sandwich. Thence to Ipswich, which he laid waste; and so to Maidon, where Alderman Britnoth came against him with his force, and fought with him; and there they slew the alderman, and gained the field of battle; whereupon peace was made with him, and the king received him afterwards at episcopal hands by the advice of Siric, Bishop of Canterbury, and Elfeah of Winchester. This year was Bamborough destroyed, and much spoil was there taken. Afterwards came the army to the mouth of the Humber; and there did much evil both in Lindsey and in Northumbria. Then was collected a great force; but when the armies were to engage, then the generals first commenced a flight; namely, Frene and Godwin and Frithgist. In this same year the king ordered Elfgar, son of Alderman Elfric, to be punished with blindness.
((A.D. 993. In this year came Olave with ninety-three ships to Staines, and ravaged there about, and then went thence to Sandwich, and so thence to Ipswich, and that all overran; and so to Maldon. And there Britnoth the ealdorman came against them with his forces, and fought against them: and they there slew the ealdorman, and had possession of the place of carnage. And after that peace was made with them; and him (Anlaf) the king afterwards received at the bishop's hands, through the instruction of Siric, bishop of the Kentish-men, and of Aelphege of Winchester.))
A.D. 994. This year died Archbishop Siric: and Elfric, Bishop of Wiltshire, was chosen on Easter-day, at Amesbury, by King Ethelred and all his council. This year came Anlaf and Sweyne to London, on the Nativity of St. Mary, with four and ninety-ships. And they closely besieged the city, and would fain have set it on fire; but they sustained more harm and evil than they ever supposed that any citizens could inflict on them. The holy mother of God on that day in her mercy considered the citizens, and ridded them of their enemies. Thence they advanced, and wrought the greatest evil that ever any army could do, in burning and plundering and manslaughter, not only on the sea-coast in Essex, but in Kent and in Sussex and in Hampshire. Next they took horse, and rode as wide as they would, and committed unspeakable evil. Then resolved the king and his council to send to them, and offer them tribute and provision, on condition that they desisted from plunder. The terms they accepted; and the whole army came to Southampton, and there fixed their winter- quarters; where they were fed by all the subjects of the West- Saxon kingdom. And they gave them 16,000 pounds in money. Then sent the king; after King Anlaf Bishop Elfeah and Alderman Ethelwerd; (48) and, hostages being left with the ships, they led Anlaf with great pomp to the king at Andover. And King Ethelred received him at episcopal hands, and honoured him with royal presents. In return Anlaf promised, as he also performed, that he never again would come in a hostile manner to England.
A.D. 995. This year appeared the comet-star.
A.D. 996. This year was Elfric consecrated archbishop at Christ church. (49)
A.D. 997. This year went the army about Devonshire into Severn- mouth, and equally plundered the people of Cornwall, North-Wales, (50) and Devon. Then went they up at Watchet, and there much evil wrought in burning and manslaughter. Afterwards they coasted back about Penwithstert on the south side, and, turning into the mouth of the Tamer, went up till they came to Liddyford, burning and slaying everything that they met. Moreover, Ordulf's minster at Tavistock they burned to the ground, and brought to their ships incalculable plunder. This year Archbishop Elfric went to Rome after his staff.
A.D. 998. This year coasted the army back eastward into the mouth of the Frome, and went up everywhere, as widely as they would, into Dorsetshire. Often was an army collected against them; but, as soon as they were about to come together, then were they ever through something or other put to flight, and their enemies always in the end had the victory. Another time they lay in the Isle of Wight, and fed themselves meanwhile from Hampshire and Sussex.
A.D. 999. This year came the army about again into the Thames, and went up thence along the Medway to Rochester; where the Kentish army came against them, and encountered them in a close engagement; but, alas! they too soon yielded and fled; because they had not the aid that they should have had. The Danes therefore occupied the field of battle, and, taking horse, they rode as wide as they would, spoiling and overrunning nearly all West-Kent. Then the king with his council determined to proceed against them with sea and land forces; but as soon as the ships were ready, then arose delay from day to day, which harassed the miserable crew that lay on board; so that, always, the forwarder it should have been, the later it was, from one time to another; -- they still suffered the army of their enemies to increase; -- the Danes continually retreated from the sea-coast;-- and they continually pursued them in vain. Thus in the end these expeditions both by sea and land served no other purpose but to vex the people, to waste their treasure, and to strengthen their enemies. "
(41) So I understand the word. Gibson, from Wheloc, says -- "in aetatis vigore;" a fact contradicted by the statement of almost every historian. Names of places seldom occur in old MSS. with capital initials. Back
(44) This poetical effusion on the coronation, or rather consecration, of King Edgar, as well as the following on his death, appears to be imitated in Latin verse by Ethelwerd at the end of his curious chronicle. This seems at least to prove that they were both written very near the time, as also the eulogy on his reign, inserted 959. Back
(45) The following passage from Cotton Tiberius B iv., relating to the accession of Edward the Martyr, should be added here
-- In his days,
On account of his youth,
The opponents of God
Broke through God's laws;
And others many;
And marr'd monastic rules;
Minsters they razed,
And monks drove away,
And put God's laws to flight --
Laws that King Edgar
Commanded the holy
Saint Ethelwold bishop
Firmly to settle --
Widows they stript
Oft and at random.
Many breaches of right
And many bad laws
Have arisen since;
Prove only worse.
Then too was Oslac
The mighty earl
Hunted from England's shores. Back
(49) i.e. at Canterbury. He was chosen or nominated before, by King Ethelred and his council, at Amesbury: vid. an. 994. This notice of his consecration, which is confirmed by Florence of Worcester, is now first admitted into the text on the authority of three MSS. Back