anglo saxon guide


Back to the Anglo Saxon Survival Guide Index
Back to Anglo Saxon Chronicle


A.D. 900 to 999
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

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 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

((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

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

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 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!(41)
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

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.(41a) 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.

A.D. 956 . This year died Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, on the
seventeenth day before the calends of January; and he was buried
at Oundle; and in the same year was Abbot Dunstan driven out of
this land over sea.

A.D. 958 . This year Archbishop Oda separated King Edwy and
Elfgiva; because they were too nearly related.

A.D. 959 . This year died King Edwy, on the calends of October;
and Edgar his brother took to the government of the West-Saxons,
Mercians, and Northumbrians. He was then sixteen years old. It
was in this year he sent after St. Dunstan, and gave him the
bishopric of Worcester; and afterwards the bishopric of London.
In his days
it prosper'd well;
and God him gave,
that he dwelt in peace
the while that he lived.
Whate'er he did,
whate'er he plan'd,
he earn'd his thrift.
He also rear'd
God's glory wide,
and God's law lov'd,
with peace to man,
above the kings
that went before
in man's remembrance.
God so him sped,
that kings and earls
to all his claims
submissive bow'd;
and to his will
without a blow
he wielded all
as pleased himself.
Esteem'd he was
both far and wide
in distant lands;
because he prized
the name of God,
and God's law traced,
God's glory rear'd,
both far and wide,
on every side.
Wisely he sought
in council oft
his people's good,
before his God,
before the world.
One misdeed he did,
too much however,
that foreign tastes
he loved too much;
and heathen modes
into this land
he brought too fast;
outlandish men
hither enticed;
and to this earth
attracted crowds
of vicious men.
But God him grant,
that his good deeds
be weightier far
than his misdeeds,
to his soul's redemption
on the judgment-day.

A.D. 961 . This year departed Odo, the good archbishop, and St.
Dunstan took to the archbishopric. This year also died Elfgar, a
relative of the king, in Devonshire; and his body lies at Wilton:
and King Sifferth killed himself; and his body lies at Wimborn.
This year there was a very great pestilence; when the great fever
was in London; and St. Paul's minster was consumed with fire, and
in the same year was afterwards restored. In this year Athelmod.
the masspriest, went to Rome, and there died on the eighteenth
before the calends of September.

A.D. 963 . This year died Wulfstan, the deacon, on Childermass-
day; (42) and afterwards died Gyric, the mass-priest. In the
same year took Abbot Athelwold to the bishopric of Winchester;
and he was consecrated on the vigil of St. Andrew, which happened
on a Sunday. On the second year after he was consecrated, he
made many minsters; and drove out the clerks (43) from the
bishopric, because they would hold no rule, and set monks
therein. He made there two abbacies; one of monks, another of
nuns. That was all within Winchester. Then came he afterwards
to King Edgar, and requested that he would give him all the
minsters that heathen men had before destroyed; for that he would
renew them. This the king cheerfully granted; and the bishop
came then first to Ely, where St. Etheldritha lies, and ordered
the minster to be repaired; which he gave to a monk of his, whose
name was Britnoth, whom he consecrated abbot: and there he set
monks to serve God, where formerly were nuns. He then bought
many villages of the king, and made it very rich. Afterwards
came Bishop Athelwold to the minster called Medhamsted, which was
formerly ruined by heathen folk; but he found there nothing but
old walls, and wild woods. In the old walls at length he found
hid writings which Abbot Hedda had formerly written; -- how King
Wulfhere and Ethelred his brother had wrought it, and how they
freed it against king and against bishop, and against all worldly
service; and how Pope Agatho confirmed it with his writ, as also
Archbishop Deusdedit. He then ordered the minster to be rebuilt;
and set there an abbot, who was called Aldulf; and made monks,
where before was nothing. He then came to the king, and let him
look at the writings which before were found; and the king then
answered and said: "I Edgar grant and give to-day, before God and
before Archbishop Dunstan, freedom to St. Peter's minster at
Medhamsted, from king and from bishop; and all the thorps that
thereto lie; that is, Eastfield, and Dodthorp, and Eye, and
Paston. And so I free it, that no bishop have any jurisdiction
there, but the abbot of the minster alone. And I give the town
called Oundle, with all that thereto lieth, called Eyot-hundred,
with market and toll; so freely, that neither king, nor bishop,
nor earl, nor sheriff, have there any jurisdiction; nor any man
but the abbot alone, and whom he may set thereto. And I give to
Christ and St. Peter, and that too with the advice of Bishop
Athelwold, these lands; -- that is, Barrow, Warmington, Ashton,
Kettering, Castor, Eylesworth, Walton, Witherington, Eye, Thorp,
and a minster at Stamford. These lands and 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
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

A.D. 971 . 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. 972 . This year died Edmund Atheling, and his body lies at

((A.D. 973 . 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

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

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

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

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. "

richard facebookrichard twitterrichard blogger



buy now

Want to know where

to buy my books?

via Mercia Books

Or check on each book's

own page for more info.

blog tour logo