[Sidenote: 834.] In the yeere following, the Danes with their nauie came into Westwales, and there the Welshmen ioining with them, rose against king Egbert, but he with prosperous fortune vanquished and slue both [Sidenote: Danes and Welshmen vanquished.] the Danes and Welshmen, and that in great number, at a place called Hengistenton. The next yeere after also, which was 836, he ouerthrew [Sidenote: 836.] another armie of Danes which came against him, as one autor writeth. Finallie, when king Egbert had reigned the tearme of 36 [Sidenote: Matth. West.] yeeres and seuen moneths with great glorie for the inlarging of his [Sidenote: Egbert departeth this life. 837.] kingdome with wide bounds, which when he receiued was but of small compasse, he departed this life, leauing to his issue matter of woorthie praise to mainteine that with order which he with painefull diligence had ioined togither. His bodie was buried at Winchester, and he left behind him two sonnes Ethelwulfe, otherwise named Athaulfe and [Sidenote: Matth. West.] Adelstan. The first he appointed to succeed him in the kingdome of Westsaxons, and Adelstan he ordeined to haue the gouernment of Kent, Sussex, and Essex.
Heere we see the paterne of a fortunate prince in all his affaires, as well forren as domesticall, wherein is first to be obserued the order of his education in his tender yeeres, which agreeing well with a princes nature, could not but in the progresse of his age bring great matters to passe, his manifold victories are an argument that as he lacked no policie, so he had prowesse inough to incounter with his enimies, to whome he gaue manie a fowle discomfiture. But among all other notes of his skill and hope of happie successe in his martiall affaires, was the good choise that he made of seruiceable souldiers, being such as knew how to get the victorie, and hauing gotten it, were not vntaught to vse it to their benefit, by their warinesse and heedtaking; for
Saepius incautae nocuit victoria turbae.
* * * * *
The kingdome of Kent annexed to the kingdome of the Westsaxons, the end of the kingdome of Kent and Essex; Kenelme king of Mercia murthered by the meanes of his owne sister Quendred, the order of hir wicked practise; his death prophesied or foreshewed by a signe, the kings of Mercia put by their roialtie one after another, the kingdome of Britaine beginneth to be a monarchie; Ethelwulfe king of the Westsaxons, he marrieth his butlers daughter, his disposition; the fourth destruction of this land by forren enimies, the Danes sought the ruine of this Ile, how long they afflicted and troubled the same; two notable bishops and verie seruiceable to king Ethelwulfe in warre, the Danes discomfited, the Englishmen chased, Ethelwulfs great victorie ouer the Danes, a great slaughter of them at Tenet, king Ethelwulfs deuotion and liberalitie to churches, Peter pence paid to Rome, he marieth the ladie Iudith, his two sonnes conspire (vpon occasion of breaking a law) to depose him, king Ethelwulfe dieth, his foure sonnes by his first wife Osburga, how he bequeathed his kingdoms.
THE TENTH CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: Wil. Malm.] When Cuthred K. of Kent had reigned 8 yeeres, as before is mentioned, he was constreined to giue place vnto one Baldred, that tooke vpon him the gouernment, & reigned the space of 18 yeeres, without anie great authoritie, for his subiects regarded him but sorilie, so that in the end, when his countrie was inuaded by the Westsaxons, he was easilie constreined to depart into exile. And thus was the kingdome of Kent annexed to the kingdome of the Westsaxons, after the same kingdome had continued in gouernment of kings created of the same nation for the space of 382 yeers, that is to say, from the yeere of our Lord 464, vnto the yeere 827. Suithred or Suthred [Sidenote: The end of the kingdome of Kent. 827.] king of Essex was vanquished and expelled out of his kingdome by Egbert king of Westsaxons (as before ye maie read) in the same yeere that the Kentishmen were subdued by the said Egbert, or else verie [Sidenote: The end of the kingdome of Essex.] shortlie after. This kingdome continued 281 yeeres, from the yeere 614, vnto the yeere 795, as by the table of the Heptarchie set foorth by Alexander Neuill appeereth. After the deceasse of Kenwulfe king [Sidenote: Matth. West. 821] of Mercia, his sonne Kenelme a child of the age of seuen yeeres was admitted king, about the yeere of our Lord 821. He had two sisters, Quendred and Burgenild, of the which the one (that is to say) [Sidenote: The wickedness of Quendred.] Quendred, of a malicious mind, mooued through ambition, enuied hir brothers aduancement, and sought to make him awaie, so that in the end she corrupted the gouernour of his person one Ashbert, with great rewards and high promises persuading him to dispatch hir innocent brother out of life, that she might reigne in his place. Ashbert one day vnder a colour to haue the yoong king foorth on hunting, led him into a thicke wood, and there cut off the head from his bodie, an impe by reason of his tender yeeres and innocent age, vnto the world [Sidenote: King Kenelm murthered.] void of gilt, and yet thus traitorouslie murthered without cause or crime: he was afterwards reputed for a martyr.
[Sidenote: See legenda aurea. fol. 165. in the life of S. Kenelme.] There hath gone a tale that his death should be signified at Rome, and the place where the murther was committed, by a strange manner: for (as they say) a white doue came and lighted vpon the altar of saint Peter, bearing a scroll in hir bill, which she let fall on the same altar, in which scroll among other things this was conteined, "In clenc kou bath, Kenelme kinbarne lieth vnder thorne, heaued bereaued:" that is, at Clenc in a cow pasture, Kenelme the kings child lieth beheaded vnder a thorne. This tale I rehearse, not for anie credit I thinke it woorthie of, but onelie for that it seemeth to note the place where the yoong prince innocentlie lost his life.
[Sidenote: Ceolwulfe K. of Mercia 823.] After that Kenelme was thus made awaie, his vncle Ceolwulfe the brother of king Kenulfe was created king of Mercia, and in the second yeere of his reigne was expelled by Bernwulfe. Bernwulfe in the third yeere of his reigne, was vanquished and put to flight in battell by Egbert king of Westsaxons, and shortlie after slaine of the Eastangles, as before ye haue heard. Then one Ludicenus or Ludicanus was created king of Mercia, and within two yeeres after came to the like end that happened to his predecessor before him, as he went about to reuenge his death, so that the kingdome of Britaine began now to reele from their owne estate, and leane to an alteration, which grew in the end to the erection of a perfect monarchie, and finall subuersion of their particular estates and regiments. After Ludicenus, [Sidenote: Matt. Westm. 728.] succeeded Wightlafe, who first being vanquisht by Egbert king of Westsaxons, was afterwards restored to the kingdome by the same Egbert, and reigned 13 yeeres, whereof twelue at the least were vnder tribute which he paied to the said Egbert and to his sonne, as to his souereignes and supreame gouernours. The kingdome of Northumberland [Sidenote: 828.] was brought in subjection to the kings of Westsaxons, as before is mentioned, in the yeere of our Lord 828, and in the yeere of the reigne of king Egbert 28, but yet heere it tooke not end, as after shall appeere.
[Sidenote: ETHELWULFUS] Ethelwulfus, otherwise called by some writers Athaulfus, began his reigne ouer the Westsaxons in the yeere 837, which was in the 24 yeere of the emperor Ludouicus Pius that was also K. of France, in the tenth yeere of Theophilus the emperor of the East, & about the third yeere of Kenneth, the second of that name king of Scots. This Ethelwulfe minding in his youth to haue beene a priest, entered into the orders [Sidenote: Henrie Hunt. Matth. West.] as subdeacon, and as some write, he was bishop of Winchester: but howsoeuer the matter stood, or whether he was or not, sure it is, that shortlie after he was absolued of his vowes by authoritie of pope Leo, and then maried a proper gentlewoman named Osburga, which was his butlers daughter. He was of nature courteous, and rather desirous to liue in quiet rest, than to be troubled with the gouernment of [Sidenote: Wil. Malm.] manie countries, so that contenting himselfe with the kingdome of Westsaxons, he permitted his brother Adelstan to inioy the residue of the countries which his father had subdued, as Kent and Essex, with other. He aided Burthred the king of Mercia against the Welshmen, and greatlie aduanced his estimation, by giuing vnto him his daughter in mariage.
[Sidenote: Foure especiall destructions of this land.] But now the fourth destruction which chanced to this land by forren enimies, was at hand: for the people of Denmarke, Norway, and other of those northeast regions, which in that season were great rouers by sea, had tasted the wealth of this land by such spoiles and preies as they had taken in the same, so that perceiuing they could not purchase more profit anie where else, they set their minds to inuade the same on ech side, as they had partlie begun in the daies of the late kings Brightrike and Egbert. The persecution vsed by these [Sidenote: Simon Dun. Hen. Hunt.] Danes seemed more greeuous, than anie of the other persecutions, either before or sithens that time: for the Romans hauing quicklie subdued the land, gouerned it noblie without seeking the subuersion thereof. The Scots and Picts onelie inuaded the north parts. And the Saxons seeking the conquest of the land, when they had once got it, they kept it, and did what they could, to better and aduance it to a flourishing estate.
The Normans likewise hauing made a conquest, granted both life, libertie, and ancient lawes to the former inhabitants: but the Danes long time and often assailing the land on euerie side, now inuading it in this place, and now in that, did not at the first so much couet to conquer it, as to spoile it, nor to beare rule in it, as to waste and destroie it: who if they were at anie time, ouercome, the victors were nothing the more in quiet: for a new nauie, and a greater armie [Sidenote: The Danes sought the destruction of this land.] was readie to make some new inuasion, neither did they enter all at one place, nor at once, but one companie on the east side, and an other in the west, or in the north and south coasts, in such sort, that the Englishmen knew not whether they should first go to make [Sidenote: How long the persecution of the Danes lasted. Will. Malmes.] resistance against them.
This mischiefe began chieflie in the daies of this king Ethelwulfe, but it continued about the space of two hundred yeeres, as by the sequele of this booke it shall appeere. King Ethelwulfe was not so much giuen to ease, but that vpon occasion for defense of his countrie and subiects, he was readie to take order for the beating backe of the enimies, as occasion serued, and speciallie chose such to be of his counsell, as were men of great experience and [Sidenote: Two notable bishops in Ethelwulfs daies.] wisedome. Amongst other, there were two notable prelats, Suithune bishop of Winchester, and Adelstan bishop of Shireborne, who were readie euer to giue him good aduise. Suithune was not so much expert in worldlie matters as Adelstan was, & therefore chieflie counselled the king in things apperteining to his soules health: but Adelstan tooke in hand to order matters apperteining to the state of the commonwealth, as prouiding of monie, and furnishing foorth of men to withstand the Danes, so that by him manie things were both boldlie begun, and happilie atchiued, as by writers hath beene recorded. He gouerned the see of Shireborne the space of 50 yeeres, by the good counsell and faithfull aduise of those two prelats.
King Ethelwulfe gouerned his subiects verie politikelie, and by himselfe and his capteins oftentimes put the Danes to flight, though as chance of warre falleth out, he also receiued at their hands [Sidenote: Simon Dun. Hen. Hunt.] great losses, and sundrie sore detriments. In the first yeere of his reigne, the Danes arriued at Hampton, with 33 ships, against whome he sent earle Wulhard with part of his armie, the which giuing battell to the enimies, made great slaughter of them, and obteined a noble [Sidenote: Danes discomfited. Matth. West.] victorie. He sent also earle Adelhelme with the Dorsetshire men against an other number of the Danes, which were landed at Portesmouth, but after long fight, the said Adelhelme was slaine, [Sidenote: Englishmen put to flight. They are eftsoones vanquished.] and the Danes obteined the victorie. In the yeere following, earle Herbert fought against the Danes at Merseware, and was there slaine, and his men chased. The same yeere, a great armie of Danes passing by the east parts of the land, as through Lindsey, Eastangle, and Kent, slue and murthered an huge number of people. The next yeere after this, they entered further into the land, and about Canturburie, Rochester, and London, did much mischiefe.
King Ethelwulfe in the fift yeere of his reigne, with a part of his [Sidenote: Carrum.] armie incountred with the Danes at Carrum, the which were arriued in those parties with 30 ships, hauing their full fraught of men, so that for so small a number of vessels, there was a great power of [Sidenote: The Danes wan the victorie in battell. Danes are vanquished. Simon Dun. 851.] men of warre, in so much that they obteined the victorie at that time, and put the king to the woorse. About the tenth yeere of king Ethelwulfs reigne, one of his capteins called Ernwulfe, and bishop Adelstan, with the Summersetshire men, and an other capteine called Osred, with the Dorsetshire men, fought against the Danes, at a place called Pedredesmuth, and vanquished them with great triumph. In the sixteenth yeere of his reigne, king Ethelwulfe and his sonne Edelbald hauing assembled all their powers togither, gaue battell at Ocley, [Sidenote: Ocley. Two hundred and fiftie ships saith Hen. Hunt.] to an huge host of Danes, the which with foure hundred and fiftie ships had arriued at Thames mouth, and destroied the famous cities of London and Canturburie, and also had chased Brightwulfe king of Mercia in battell, and being now entered into Southerie, were incountered by king Ethelwulfe at Ocley aforesaid, & after sore fight and incredible slaughter made on both sides, in the end, the victorie by the power of God was giuen to those that beleeued on him, and the losse rested with great confusion to the miscreants.
[Sidenote: The Danes eftsoones vanquished. Danes ouercome by sea.] Thus king Ethelwulfe obteined a glorious victorie in so mightie a battell, as a greater had not beene lightlie heard of to chance within the English dominions. The same yeere also Athelstan king of Kent and duke Ealhere fought by sea with the Danes, and tooke 9 of their ships, and chased the residue. Moreouer, one earle Ceorle hauing with him the [Sidenote: The Deuonshire men vanquish the Danes.] power of Deuonshire, fought with the Danes at Winleshore, and got the victorie. This yeere was verie luckie to the English nation, but yet the armie of the Danes lodged all the winter season in the Ile of Tenet. And this was the first time that they remained heere all the winter, vsing afore time but to come and make an inuasion in one place or other, and immediatlie to returne home with the prey.
[Sidenote: Simon Dun. 852.] In the 18 yeere of king Ethelwulfes reigne, he aided Burthred king of Mercia against the Welshmen (as before is mentioned) and gaue to him his daughter in marriage, the solemnization whereof was kept at Chipnham. The same yeere king Ethelwulfe sent his sonne Alured as then but fiue yeeres of age to Rome, where he was consecrated K. by pope Leo the fourth, and was receiued of him as if he had beene his owne sonne. Duke Ealhere or Eachere with the Kentishmen, and one Huda or [Sidenote: Great slaughter of Danes at Tenet.] rather Wada, with the men of Southerie, fought against the armie of Danes at Tenet, where great slaughter was made on both sides, the Englishmen preuailing in the beginning, but in the end, both their foresaid dukes or leaders died in that battell, beside manie other that were slaine and drowned.
In the 19 yeere of his reigne, king Ethelwulfe ordeined that the tenths or tithes of all lands due to be paid to the church, should be free from all tribute, duties, or seruices regall. And afterwards, with great deuotion he went to Rome, where he was receiued with great honour, and taried there one whole yeere: he tooke with him his sonne [Sidenote: The Saxons schoole.] Alured, who had beene there before as ye haue heard. He repaired the Saxons schoole, which Offa king of Mercia had sometime founded in that citie, and latelie had beene sore decaied by fire. He confirmed the grant of Peter pence, to the intent that no Englishmen from [Sidenote: King Ethelwulfs liberalitie to churches. Will. Malmes. Simon Dun. Mancusae.] thence-foorth should doo penance in bounds as he saw some there to doo before his face. It is also written, that he should acquit all the churches of his realme of paieng tribute to his coffers (as before ye haue heard) & moreouer couenanted to send vnto Rome euerie yeere three hundred marks, that is to say, one hundred marks to saint Peters church, an other hundred marks to saint Paules light, and the third hundred marks to the Pope.
[Sidenote: The ladie Iudith.] In his returne thorough France, he married the ladie Iudith, daughter to Charles the bald, then K. of France, and bringing hir with him into his countrie, placed hir by him in a chaire of estate, with which deed he offended so the minds of his subiects, bicause it was against the order taken before him, for the offense of Ethelburga, that his sonne Ethelbald and Adelstan bishop of Shireborne, with Enwulfe earle of Summerset, conspired to depose him from his [Sidenote: Wil. Malm.] kinglie authoritie; but by mediation of friends, the matter was taken vp, and so ordered, that the kingdome was diuided betwixt the father and the sonne, with such parcialitie, that the sonne had the better part lieng westward, and the father was constreined to content himselfe with the east part being the woorst.
[Sidenote: 857.] Of this trouble of Ethelwulfe some write otherwise, after this manner word for word. Ethelwulfe king of the Westsaxons being returned from Rome & the parties beyond the seas, was prohibited the entrance into his realme by Adelstane bishop of Shireborne, and Ethelbald his eldest sonne; pretending outwardlie the coronation of Alfride, the mariage of Iudith the French kings daughter, and open eating with hir at the table, to be the onelie cause of this their manifest rebellion. Whereby he seemeth to inferre, that this reuolting of Adelstane and his son, should proceed of the ambitious desire of Ethelbald to reigne, and likelie inough, or else this vnequall partition should neuer haue beene made.
But howsoeuer the matter stood, king Ethelwulfe liued not long after his returne from Rome, but departed this life, after he had ruled the kingdome of the Westsaxons the space of 20 yeeres and od moneths. His bodie was buried at Winchester. He left behind him foure sonnes, Ethelbald, Ethelbert or Ethelbright, Ethelred, and Alsred or Alured, which was begotten of his first wife Osburga. A little before his [Sidenote: Onelie Westsex saith Matt. Westm. and Sim. Dunel. saith that Ethelbright had Sussex also, and so dooth H. Hunt. Matth. Paris.] death he made his testament and last will, appointing his sonne Ethelbald to succeed him in the whole regiment of his kingdoms of Westsex and Sussex, which he held by inheritance: but the kingdoms of Kent and Essex he assigned to his son Ethelbright. About the same time also the Danes soiourned all the winter season in the Ile of Shepie.
The old Saxons doo bring the genealogie of this Ethelwulfe to Adam, after this maner following.
Ethelwulfe the sonne of Egbert, the son of Alcmund, the son of Eaffa, the son of Eoppa, the son of Ingils, the son of Kenred, the son of Coelwald, the son of Cudwine, the son of Ceawlin, the son of Kenric, the son of Cerdic, the son of Eslie, the son of Gewise, the son of Wingie, the son of Freawin, the son of Fridagare, the son of Brendie, the son of Beldegie, the son of Woden, the son of Frethelwold, the son of Freolaffe, the son of Frethewolfe, the son of Finnie, the son of Godulfe, [Sidenote: *De quo Sedulius in car. pasch] the son of *Geta, the son of Teathwie, the son of Beame, the son of Sceldie, the son of Seafe, the son of Heremod, the son of Itermod, the son of Hordie, the son of Wale, the son of Bedwie, the son of Sem, the son of Noah, and so foorth to Adam, as you shall find it by retrogradation from the 32 verse vnto the first of the fift chapter of Genesis. Which genealogicall recapitulation in their nationall families and tribes, other people also haue obserued; as the Spaniards, who reckon their descent from Hesperus, before the Gothes and Moors ouerran their land; the Italians from Aeneas, before they were mingled with the Vandals and Lumbards; the Saxons from Woden, before they were mixed with the Danes and Normans; the Frenchmen at this day from the Thracians; the Germans from [Sidenote: Iohn Castor. Simon Dun. Matt. Parker. A kings son and heire a bishop.] the children of Gwiston; and other people from their farre fetcht ancestrie. To conclude, of this Ethelwulfe it is written, that he was so well learned & deuout, that the clerks of the church of Winchester did chuse him in his youth to be bishop, which function he vndertooke, and was bishop of the said see by the space of seuen yeeres before he was king.
* * * * *
Bertwolfe king of Mercia tributarie to the Westsaxons, the fame of Modwen an Irish virgine, she was a great builder of monasteries, she had the gift of healing diseases, Ethelbald and Ethelbright diuide their fathers kingdome betwixt them, Ethelbald marieth his mother, he dieth, Winchester destroied by the Danes, they plaied the trucebreakers and did much mischiefe in Kent, Ethelbright dieth; Ethelred king of the Westsaxons, his commendable qualities, his regiment was full of trouble, he fought against the Danes nine times in one yere with happie successe, the kings of Mercia fall from their fealtie and allegiance to Ethelred; Hungar & Vbba two Danish capteines with their power lie in Eastangle, Osbright and Ella kings of Northumberland slaine of the Danes in battell, they set Yorke on fire, a commendation of bishop Adelstan, his departure out of this life.
THE ELEUENTH CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: Bertwolfe. of Mercia.] After Wightlafe king of Mercia, one Bertwolfe reigned as tributarie vnto the Westsaxons, the space of 13 yeeres, about the end of which tearme he was chased out of his countrie by the Danes, and then one Burthred was made king of that kingdome, which maried Ethelswida [Sidenote: Matt. West. saith the daughter. Ranulf. Cest. Iohn Capgraue.] the sister of Ethelwolfe king of Westsaxons. In this season, one Modwen a virgine in Ireland was greatlie renowmed in the world, vnto whome the forenamed king Ethelwolfe sent his sonne Alfred to be cured of a disease, that was thought incurable: but by hir meanes he recouered health, and therefore when hir monasterie was destroied in Ireland, Modwen came ouer into England, vnto whom king Ethelwolfe gaue land to build two abbeies, and also deliuered vnto hir his sister Edith to be professed a nun. Modwen herevpon built two monasteries, one at Pouleswoorth, ioining to the bounds of Arderne, wherein she placed the foresaid Edith, with Osith and Athea: the other, whether it was a monasterie or cell, she founded in Strenshall or Trentsall, where she hir selfe remained solitarie a certeine time in praier, and other vertuous exercises. And (as it is reported) she went thrice to Rome, and finallie died, being 130 yeeres of age. Hir bodie was first buried in an Iland compassed about with the riuer of Trent called Andresey, taking that name of a church or chappell of saint Andrew, which she had built in the same Iland, and dwelled therein for the space of seuen yeeres. Manie monasteries she builded, both in England (as partlie aboue is mentioned) and also in Scotland, as at Striueling, Edenbrough; and in Ireland, at Celestline, and elsewhere.
[Sidenote: ETHELBALD AND ETHELBRIGHT. 857.] Ethelbald and Ethelbright diuiding their fathers kingdom betwixt them, began to reigne, Ethelbald ouer the Westsaxons and the Southsaxons, and Ethelbright ouer them of Kent and Essex, in the yeere of our Lord 857, which was in the second yeere of the emperor Lewes the second, & the 17 of Charles surnamed Caluus or the bald king of France, and about the first yeere of Donald the fift of that name king [Sidenote: The vnlawful mariage of Ethelbald. Wil. Malm.] of Scots. The said Ethelbald greatlie to his reproch tooke to wife his mother in law queene Iudith, or rather (as some write) his owne mother, whom his father had kept as concubine. He liued not past fiue yeeres in gouernement of the kingdome, but was taken out of this life to the great sorrow of his subiects whome he ruled right worthilie, and so as they had him in great loue and estimation. Then his brother Ethelbright tooke on him the rule of the whole gouernment, as well ouer the Westsaxons & them of Sussex, as ouer the Kentishmen and them of Essex.
[Sidenote: Hen. Hunt. Winchester destroied by Danes.] In his daies the Danes came on land, and destroid the citie of Winchester: but duke Osrike with them of Hamshire, and duke Adelwolfe [Sidenote: Danes vanquished.] with the Barkeshire men gaue the enimies battell, & vanquishing them, slue of them a great number. In the fift yeere of Ethelbrights reigne, a nauie of Danes arriued in the Ile of Tenet, vnto whome when the Kentishmen had promised a summe of monie to haue a truce granted for a time, the Danes one night, before the tearme of that truce was expired, brake foorth and wasted all the east part of Kent: wherevpon the Kentishmen assembled togither, made towardes those trucebreakers, and caused them to depart out of the countrie. The same yeere, after that Ethelbright had ruled well and peaceably the Westsaxons fiue yeeres, and the Kentishmen ten yeeres, he ended his life, and was buried at Shireborne, as his brother Ethelbald was before him.
[Sidenote: ETHELRED. 867.] After Ethelbright succeeded his brother Ethelred, and began his reigne ouer the Westsaxons and the more part of the English people, in the yeere of our Lord 867, and in the 12 yeere of the emperour Lewes, in the 27 yeere of the reigne of Charles Caluus king of France, and about the 6 yeere of Constantine the second king of Scots. Touching this Ethelred, he was in time of peace a most courteous prince, and one that by all kind of meanes sought to win the hearts of the people: but abroad in the warres he was sharpe and sterne, as he that vnderstood what apperteined to good order, so that he would suffer no offense to escape vnpunished. By which meanes he was famous both in peace and warre: but he neither liued any long time in the gouernement, nor yet was suffered to passe the short space that he reigned in rest and quietnesse.
[Sidenote: Foure yeeres six moneths saith Harison. Wil. Malm. Ethelred fought with the Danes nine times in one yeere.] For whereas he reigned not past six yeeres, he was continuallie during that tearme vexed with the inuasion of the Danes, and speciallie towards the latter end, insomuch that (as hath beene reported of writers) he fought with them nine times in one yeere: and although with diuers and variable fortune, yet for the more part he went away with the victorie. Beside that, he oftentimes lay in wait for their forragers, and such as straied abroad to rob and spoile the countrie, whom he met withall and ouerthrew. There were slaine in his time nine earles of those Danes, and one king, beside other of the meaner sort without number.
But here is to be vnderstood, that in this meane time, whilest Ethelred was busied in warre to resist the inuasions of the Danes in the south and west parts of this land, the kings and rulers of [Sidenote: The kings of Mercia and Northumberland neglect their duties.] Mercia and Northumberland taking occasion therof, began to withdraw their couenanted subiection from the Westsaxons, and tooke vpon them as it were the absolute gouernment and rule of their countries, without respect to aid one another, but rather were contented to susteine the enimies within their dominions, than to preuent the iniurie with dutifull assistance to those, whom by allegiance they were bound to serue and obeie.
[Sidenote: The Danes grow in puisance.] By reason hereof, the Danes without resistance grew into greater power amongst them, whilest the inhabitants were still put in feare each day more than other, and euerie late gotten victorie by the enimies by the increase of prisoners, ministred occasion of some other conquest to follow. Euen about the beginning of Ethelreds reigne, [Sidenote: Hungar and Vbba.] there arriued vpon the English coasts an huge armie of the Danes, vnder the conduct of two renowmed capteins Hungar and Vbba, men of maruellous strength and valiancie, but both of them passing cruell of nature. They lay all the winter season in Estangle, compounding with them of the countrie for truce vpon certeine conditions, sparing for a time to shew their force for quietnesse sake.
In the second yeere of king Ethelred, the said capteins came with their armies into Yorkshire, finding the country vnprouided of necessarie defense bicause of the ciuill discord that reigned [Sidenote: Hen. Hunt. King Osbright deposed and Ella placed.] among the Northumbers, the which had latelie expelled king Osbright, that had the gouernement of those parts, and placed one Ella in his roome: howbeit now they were constreined to reuoke him home againe, and sought to accord him and Ella. But it was long yer that might be brought to passe, notwithstanding yet at length they were made friends, by reason of this inuasion attempted by forren enimies, and then raising their powers they came to Yorke, where the Danes, hauing wasted the countrie euen to the riuer of Tine, were lodged.
The English host entring the citie, began to fight with the Danes, by [Sidenote: Osbright and Ella kings of Northumberland slaine.] reason whereof a sore battell insued betwixt them: but in the end the two kings Osbright and Ella were slaine, and a great number of the Northumbers, what within the citie, and what without lost their liues at that time, the residue were constreined to take truce with the [Sidenote: It must be vpon the 10 kalends of Aprill, or else it will not concurre with Palmsunday. See Mat. West.] Danes. This battell was fought the 21 day of March being in Lent, on the Friday before Palmsunday, in the yere 657.
Some haue written otherwise of this battell, reporting that the Northumbers calling home king Osbright (whome before they had banished) incountred with the Danes in the field, without the walles of Yorke, but they were easilie beaten backe, and chased into the [Sidenote: Yorke burnt by Danes.] citie, the which by the Danes pursuing the victorie, was set on fier and burnt, togither with the king and people that were fled into it for succour. How soeuer it came about, certeine it is, that the Danes got the victorie, and now hauing subdued the Northumbers, appointed one Egbert to reigne ouer them as king, vnder their protection, which Egbert reigned in that sort six yeares ouer those which inhabited beyond the riuer of Tine. In the same yeare, Adelstane bishop of Shireborne departed this life, hauing gouerned that see the [Sidenote: The commendation of Adelstan bishop of Shirborne.] terme of 50 yeares. This Adelstane was a man of high wisedome, and one that had borne no small rule in the kingdome of the Westsaxons, as hereby it may be coniectured, that when king Ethelwulfe returned from Rome, he would not suffer him to be admitted king, because he had doone in certeine points contrarie to the ordinances and lawes of the same kingdome, wherevpon by this bishops means Ethelbald the sonne of the same king Ethelwulfe was established king, and so continued till by agreement the kingdome was diuided betwixt them, as before is mentioned. Finallie, he greatlie inriched the see of Shireborne, [Sidenote: Bishop Adelstan couetous. Hen. Hunt.] and yet though he was feruentlie set on couetousnesse, he was neuerthelesse verie free and liberall in gifts: which contrarie extremities so ill matched, though in him (the time wherein he liued being considered) they might seeme somewhat tollerable; yet simplie & in truth they were vtterlie repugnant to the law of the spirit, which biddeth that none should doo euill that good may come thereof. Against which precept because Adelstane could not but offend in the heat of his couetousnes, which is termed the root of all mischiefe, though he was exceeding bountifull and large in distributing the wealth he had greedilie gotten togither, he must needs incur reprehension. But this is so much the lesse to be imputed vnto him as a fault, by how much he was ignorant what (by the rule of equitie and conscience) was requirable in a christian man, or one of his vocation.
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Burthred king of Mercia with aid beseegeth the Danes in Notingham, Basreeg and Halden two Danish kings with their powers inuade the Westsaxons, they are incountred by Ethelwulfe earle of Barkeshire; King Ethelred giueth them and their cheefe guides a sore discomfiture; what Polydor Virgil recordeth touching one Iuarus king of the Danes, and the warres that Ethelred had with them, his death; Edmund king of Eastangles giueth battell to the Danes, he yeeldeth himselfe, and for christian religion sake is by them most cruellie murthered, the kingdome of the Eastangles endeth, Guthrun a Dane gouerneth the whole countrie, K. Osbright rauisheth the wife of one Bearne a noble man, a bloodie battell insueth therevpon, wherein Osbright and Ella are slaine.
THE TWELFT CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: BURTHRED king of Mercia.] In the yeare following, that is to say, in the third yeere of Ethelreds reigne, he with his brother Alured went to aid Burthred king of Mercia, against the two foresaid Danish capteines Hungar and Vbba, the which were entred into Mercia, and had woon the towne for the winter season. Wherevpon the foresaid Ethelred and Burthred with their [Sidenote: Danes besieged in Notingham.] powers came to Notingham, and besieged the Danes within it. The Danes perceiuing themselues in danger, made suite for a truce & abstinence from war, which they obteined, and then departed backe to Yorke, where they soiourned the most part of all that yeare.
In the sixt yeare of king Ethelreds reigne, a new armie of great force [Sidenote: Basreeg and Halden.] and power came into the countrie of the Westsaxons vnder two leaders or kings of the Danes, Basreeg and Halden. They lodged at Reding with their maine armie, and within three daies after the [Sidenote: Edelwulfe, erle of Barkshire fought at Englefield with the Danes.] earle of Berrockshire Edelwulfe fought at Englefield with two earles of those Danes, vanquished them, and slue the one of those earles, whose name was Sidroc. After this king Ethelred and his brother Alured came with a great host vnto Reding, and there gaue battell vnto the armie of Danes, so that an huge number of people died on both parts, but the Danes had the victorie.
[Sidenote: The Danes wan the victory at Reading.] After this also king Ethelred and his brother Alured fought againe with those Danes at Aschdon, where the armies on both sides were diuided into two parts, so that the two Danish kings lead the one part of their armie, & certeine of their earles lead the other part. Likewise on the English side king Ethelred was placed with one part of the host against the Danish kings, and Alured with the other part was appointed to incounter with the earles. Herevpon they being on both parts readie to giue battell, the euening comming on caused them to deferre it till the morow. And so earlie in the morning when the armies should ioine, king Ethelred staied in his tent to heare diuine seruice, whilest his brother vpon a forward courage hasted to incounter his enimies, the which receiued him so sharplie, and with so cruell fight, that at length, the Englishmen were at point to haue turned their backs. But herewith came king Ethelred and manfullie ended the battell, staied his people from running away, and so encouraged them, and discouraged the enimies, that by the power of God (whom as was thought in the morning he had serued) the Danes finallie [Sidenote: The Danes discomfited.] were chased and put to flight, losing one of their kings (that is to say) Basreeg or Osreeg, and 5 earles, Sidroc the elder, and Sidroc the yoonger, Osberne, Freine, and Harold. This battell was sore foughten, and continued till night, with the slaughter of manie thousands of Danes. About 14 daies after, king Ethelred and his brother Alured fought eftsoones with the Danish armie at Basing, [Sidenote: A battell at Merton.] where the Danes had the victorie. Also two moneths after this they likewise fought with the Danes at Merton. And there the Danes, after they had beene put to the woorse, & pursued in chase a long time, yet at length they also got the victorie, in which battell Edmund [Sidenote: He was bishop of Shireborne as Matt. West. saith.] bishop of Shireborne was slaine, and manie other that were men of woorthie fame and good account.
In the summer following, a mightie host of the Danes came to Reading, [Sidenote: Polyd. Virg. Iuarus.] and there soiourned for a time. These things agree not with that which Polydor Virgil hath written of these warres which king Ethelred had with the Danes: for he maketh mention of one Iuarus a king of the Danes, who landed (as he writeth) at the mouth of Humber, and like a stout enimie inuaded the countrie adioining. Against whome Ethelred with his brother Alured came with an armie, and incountring the Danes, fought with them by the space of a whole day togither, and was in danger to haue beene put to the woorse, but that the night seuered them asunder. In the morning they ioined againe: but the death of Iuarus, who chanced to be slaine in the beginning of the battell, [Sidenote: Danes put to flight.] discouraged the Danes, so that they were easilie put to flight, of whome (before they could get out of danger) a great number were slaine. But after that they had recouered themselues togither, and [Sidenote: Agnerus and Hubba.] found but a conuenient place where to pitch their campe, they chose to their capteines Agnerus, and Hubba, two brethren, which indeuored themselues by all meanes possible to repaire their armie: so that within 15 daies after, the Danes eftsoones fought with the Englishmen, and gaue them such an ouerthrow, that little wanted of making an end of all incounters to be attempted after by the Englishmen.
But yet within a few daies after this, as the Danes attended their market to spoile the countrie and range somewhat licentiouslie abroad, they fell within the danger of such ambushes as were laid for them by king Ethelred, that no small slaughter was made of them, but yet not without some losse of the Englishmen. Amongest others, Ethelred himselfe receiued a wound, whereof he shortlie after died. Thus saith Polydor touching the warres which king Ethelred had with the Danes, who yet confesseth (as the trueth is) that such authors as he herein followed, varie much from that which the Danish writers doo record of these matters, and namelie touching the dooings of Iuarus, as in the Danish historie you may see more at large.
But now to our purpose touching the death of king Ethelred, whether by reason of hurt receiued in fight against the Danes (as Polydor saith) or otherwise, certeine it is, that Ethelred anon after Easter [Sidenote: Winborne abbeie.] departed this life, in the sixt yeare of his reigne, and was buried at Winborne abbey. In the daies of this Ethelred, the foresaid Danish [Sidenote: Agnerus. Fabian. 870.] capteins, Hungar, otherwise called Agnerus, and Hubba returning from the north parts into the countrie of the Eastangles, came [Sidenote: Edmund K. of the Eastangles.] vnto Thetford, whereof Edmund, who reigned as king in that season ouer the Eastangles, being aduertised, raised an armie of men, and went foorth to giue battell vnto this armie of the Danes. But he with his people was chased out of the field, and fled to the castell of [Sidenote: Framingham castell.] Framingham, where being enuironed with a siege by his enimies, he yeelded himselfe vnto them. And because he would not renounce the [Sidenote: King Edmund shot to death.] christian faith, they bound him to a tree, and shot arrowes at him till he died: and afterwards cut off his head from his bodie, and threw the same into a thicke groue of bushes. But afterwards his [Sidenote: Eglesdon.] friends tooke the bodie with the head, and buried the same at Eglesdon: where afterward also a faire monasterie was builded by one bishop Aswin, and changing the name of the place, it was after called saint Edmundsburie. Thus was king Edmund put to death by the cruell Danes for his constant confessing the name of Christ, in the 16 yeare [Sidenote: Wil. Malm. Eastangles without a gouernour.] of his reigne, and so ceased the kingdome of Eastangles. For after that the Danes had thus slaine that blessed man, they conquered all the countrie, & wasted it, so that through their tyrannie it remained without anie gouernor by the space of nine yeares, and then they [Sidenote: Guthrun a Dane king of Eastangles.] appointed a king to rule ouer it, whose name was Guthrun, one of their owne nation, who gouerned both the Eastangles and the Eastsaxons.
Ye haue heard how the Danes slue Osrike and Ella kings of Northumberland. After which victorie by them obteined, they did much [Sidenote: Polychron.] hurt in the north parts of this land, and amongest other cruell deeds, they destroied the citie of Acluid, which was a famous citie in the time of the old Saxons, as by Beda and other writers dooth [Sidenote: Caxton.] manifestlie appeare. Here is to be remembred, that some writers rehearse the cause to be this. Osbright or Osrike king of Northumberland rauished the wife of one Berne that was a noble man of the countrie about Yorke, who tooke such great despight thereat, that he fled out of the land, and went into Denmarke, and there complained vnto the king of Denmarke his coosin of the iniurie doone to him by king Osbright. Wherevpon the king of Denmarke, glad to haue so iust a quarell against them of Northumberland, furnished foorth an armie, and sent the same by sea (vnder the leading of his two brethren Hungar and Hubba) into Northumberland, where they slue first the said king Osbright, and after king Ella, at a place besides Yorke, which vnto this day is called Ellas croft, taking that name of the said Ella, being there slaine in defense of his countrie against the Danes. Which Ella (as we find registred by writers) was elected king by such of the Northumbers, as in fauour of Berne had refused to be subiect vnto Osbright.
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Alfred ruleth ouer the Westsaxons and the greatest part of England, the Danes afflict him with sore warre, and cruellie make wast of his kingdome, they lie at London a whole winter, they inuade Mercia, the king whereof (Burthred by name) forsaketh his countrie and goeth to Rome, his death and buriall; Halden king of the Danes diuideth Northumberland among his people; Alfred incountreth with the Danes vpon the sea, they sweare to him that they will depart out of his kingdome, they breake the truce which was made betwixt him and them, he giueth them battell, and (besides a great discomfiture) killeth manie of their capteines, the Danes and English fight neere Abington, the victorie vncerteine, seuen foughten fieldes betwixt them in one yeare, the Danes soiourne at London.
THE XIIJ. CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: ALURED OR ALFRED. 871. as Mat. West. & Sim. Dunelmen. doo note it. Henr. Hunt.] After the decease of king Ethelred, his brother Alured or Alfred succeeded him, and began his reigne ouer the Westsaxons, and other the more part of the people of England, in the yeare of our Lord 872, which was in the 19 yeare of the emperour Lewes the second, and 32 yeare of the reigne of Charles the bald, king of France, and about the eleuenth yeare of Constantine the second king of Scotland. Although this Alured was consecrated king in his fathers life time by pope Leo (as before ye haue heard) yet was he not admitted king at home, till after the decease of his three elder brethren: for he being the yoongest, was kept backe from the gouernement, though he were for his wisdome and policie most highlie esteemed and had in all honour.
[Sidenote: Alured persecuted by Danes. Matt. Westm.] In the beginning of his reigne he was wrapped in manie great troubles and miseries, speciallie by the persecution of the Danes, which made sore and greeuous wars in sundrie parts of this land, destroieng the same in most cruell wise. About a moneth after he was [Sidenote: The Danes obteine the victorie.] made king, he gaue battell to the Danes of Wilton, hauing with him no great number of people, so that although in the beginning the Danes that day were put to the woorse, yet in the end they obteined the victorie. Shortlie after, a truce was taken betwixt the Danes and the [Sidenote: The Danes wintered at London. 874.] Westsaxons. And the Danes that had lien at Reading, remoued from thence vnto London, where they lay all the winter season. In the second yeare of Alured his reigne, the Danish king Halden led the same armie from London into Lindseie, and there lodged all that winter at [Sidenote: Repton.] Torkseie. In the yeare following, the same Halden inuaded Mercia, and wintered at Ripindon. There were come to him three other leaders of Danes which our writers name to be kings, Godrun, Esketell, & [Sidenote: Burthred king of Mercia.] Ammond, so that their power was greatlie increased. Burthred king of Mercia which had gouerned that countrie by the space of 22 yeeres, was not able to withstand the puissance of those enimies: wherevpon he was constreined to auoid the countrie, and went to Rome, where he departed this life, and was buried in the church of our ladie, neere to the English schoole.
[Sidenote: 875.] In the fourth yeare of king Alured the armie of the Danes diuided it selfe into two parts, so that king Halden with one part thereof went into Northumberland, and lay in the winter, season neere to [Sidenote: The Danes went into Northumberland.] the riuer of Tine, where hee diuided the countrie amongest his men, and remained there for the space of two yeares, and oftentimes fetched thither booties and preis out of the countrie of the Picts. The other part of the Danish armie with the three foresaid kings or leaders [Sidenote: The Danes at Cambridge. 876.] came vnto Cambridge, and remained there a whole yeare. In the same yeare king Alured fought by sea with 7 ships of Danes, tooke one of them, & chased the residue. In the yeare next insuing, the Danes came into the countrie of the Westsaxons, and king Alured tooke truce with them againe, and they sware to him (which they had not vsed to doo [Sidenote: The Danes tooke an oth. Hen. Hunt.] to anie afore that time) that they would depart the countrie. Their armie by sea sailing from Warham toward Excester, susteined great losse by tempest, for there perished 120 ships at Swanewicke.
[Sidenote: The Danes went to Excester.] Moreouer the armie of the Danes by land went to Excester in breach of the truce, and king Alured followed them, but could not ouertake them till they came to Excester, and there he approched them in such wise, that they were glad to deliuer pledges for performance of [Sidenote: Henr. Hunt.] such couenants as were accorded betwixt him and them. And so then they departed out of the countrie, and drew into Mercia. But shortlie after, when they had the whole gouernment of the land, from Thames northward, they thought it not good to suffer king Alured to continue in rest with the residue of the countries beyond Thames. And therefore the three foresaid rulers of Danes, Godrun, Esketell, and Ammond, inuading the countrie of Westsaxons came to Chipnam, distant 17 miles from Bristow, & there pitched their tents. [Sidenote: 877.]
[Sidenote: Polydor.] King Alured aduertised hereof, hasted thither, and lodging with his armie neere to the enimies, prouoked them to battell. The Danes perceiuing that either they must fight for their liues, or die with shame, boldlie came foorth, and gaue battell. The Englishmen rashlie incountered with them, and though they were ouermatched in number, yet with such violence they gaue the onset, that the enimies at the first were abashed at their hardie assaults. But when as it was perceiued that their slender ranks were not able to resist the thicke leghers of the enimies, they began to shrinke & looke backe one vpon an other, and so of force were constrained to retire: and therewithal did cast themselues into a ring, which though it seemed to be the best way that could be deuised for their safetie, yet by the great force and number of their enimies on each side assailing them, they were so thronged togither on heaps, that they had no roome to stir their weapons. Which [Sidenote: Hubba slaine.] disaduantage notwithstanding, they slue a great number of the Danes, and amongest other, Hubba the brother of Agner, with manie other of the Danish capteins. At length the Englishmen hauing valiantlie foughten a long time with the enimies, which had compassed [Sidenote: The victorie doubtful.] them about, at last brake out and got them to their campe. To be briefe, this battell was foughten with so equall fortune, that no man knew to whether part the victorie ought to be ascribed. But after they were once seuered, they tooke care to cure their hurt men, and to burie the dead bodies, namelie the Danes interred the bodie of their capteine Hubba with great funerall pompe and solemnitie: which [Sidenote: Abington.] doone, they held out their iournie till they came to Abington, whither the English armie shortlie after came also, and incamped fast by the enimies.
In this meane while, the rumor was spread abroad that king Alured had beene discomfited by the Danes, bicause that in the last battell he withdrew to his campe. This turned greatlie to his aduantage: for thereby a great number of Englishmen hasted to come to his succour. [Sidenote: The Danes and Englishmen fight neer to Abington.] On the morrow after his comming to Abington, he brought his armie readie to fight into the field: neither were the enimies slacke, on their parts to receiue the battell, and so the two armies ioined and fought verie sore on both sides: so that it seemed the Englishmen men had not to doo with those Danes, which had beene diuerse times before discomfited and put to flight, but rather with some new people fresh and lustie. But neither the one part nor the other was minded to giue ouer: in so much that the horssemen alighting on foot, and putting their horsses from them, entered the battell amongst the footmen, and thus they continued with equall aduantage till night came on, which parted the affraie, being one of the sorest foughten [Sidenote: Vncerteine victorie Thus farre Polydor.] fields that had beene heard of in those daies. To whether partie a man might iustlie attribute the victorie, it was vtterlie vncerteine, with so like losse & gaine the matter was tried & ended betwixt them. With the semblable chance of danger and glorie seuen times that yeere [Sidenote: Ran. Higd.] did the English and Danes incounter in battell, as writers haue [Sidenote: A peace agreed vpon.] recorded. At length, when their powers on both parts were sore diminished, they agreed vpon a peace, with these conditions, that the Danes should not attempt anie further warre against the Englishmen, nor bring into this land anie new supplie of souldiers out of Denmarke. But this peace by those peacemakers was violated and broken, in so much as they ment nothing lesse than to fall from the conceiued hope which they had of bearing rule in this land, and of inriching themselues with the goods, possessions, rents and reuenues of the [Sidenote: The Danes sojourned at London.] inhabitants. The same yeere the Danes soiorned in the winter season at London, according as they had doone often times before.
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Rollo a noble man of Denmarke with a fresh power entreth England, and beginneth to waste it, king Alured giueth him batell, Rollo saileth ouer into France; who first inhabited Normandie, and whereof it tooke that name; the Danes breake the peace which was made betwixt them and Alured, he is driuen to his shifts by their inuasions into his kingdome, a vision appeereth to him and his mother; king Alured disguising himselfe like a minstrell entereth the Danish campe, marketh their behauiour unsuspected, assalteth them on the sudden with a fresh power, and killeth manie of them at aduantage; the Deuonshire men giue the Danes battell vnder the conduct of Haldens brother, and are discomfited; Alured fighteth with them at Edanton, they giue him hostages, Gurthrun their king is baptised and named Adelstan, a league concluded betwixt both the kings, the bounds of Alureds kingdome.
THE XIIIJ. CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: Ann. 876. saith Simon Dun.] About the same time, or shortlie after, there came into England one Rollo, a noble man of Denmarke or Norway, with a great armie, and (notwithstanding the peace concluded betweene the Englishmen and the Danes) began to waste and destroy the countrie. King Alured hearing these newes, with all speed thought best in the beginning to stop such a common mischiefe, and immediatlie assembling his people, went against the enimies, and gaue them battell, in the which there died a great number of men on both sides, but the greater losse fell to Rollo his armie. Yet Matthew Westmin. saith that the Englishmen were put to flight. After this, it chanced that Rollo being warned in a dreame, left England, & sailed ouer into France, where he found fortune so fauourable to him, that he obteined in that region for him and his [Sidenote: 30 yeeres after this he was baptised.] people a countrie, the which was afterwards named Normandie, of those northerne people which then began to inhabit the same, as in the histories of France you maie see more at large.
The Danes which had concluded peace with king Alured (as before you haue heard) shortlie after vpon the first occasion, brake the same, and by often inuasions which they made into the countrie of Westsaxons, brought the matter to that passe, that there remained to [Sidenote: King Alured driuen to his shifts.] king Alured but onlie the three countries of Hamshire, Wiltshire, & Summersetshire, in so much that he was constreined for a time to keepe himselfe close within the fennes and maresh grounds of Summersetshire, with such small companies as he had about him, constreined to get their liuing with fishing, hunting, and other such shifts. He remained for the most part within an Ile called [Sidenote: Edlingsey.] Edlingsey, that is to say, the Iland of noble men, enuironed about with fennes and mareshes.
[Sidenote: A vision if it be true.] Whiles he was thus shut vp within this Iland, he was by dreame aduertised of better hap shortlie to follow: for as it hath beene said, saint Cuthbert appeered to him as he laie in sleepe, and comforted him, declaring to him, that within a while fortune should so turne, that he should recouer againe his kingdome to the confusion of his enimies. And to assure him that this should prooue true, he told him that his men which were gone abroad to catch fish, should bring home great plentie, although the season was against them, by reason that the waters were frosen, and that a cold rime fell that morning, to the hinderance of their purpose. His mother also at that time being in sleepe, saw the like vision. And as they had dreamed, so it came to passe: for being awakened out of their sleepe, in came his men with so great foison of fish, that the same might haue sufficed a great armie of men, for the vittelling of them at that season.
[Sidenote: King Alured disguiseth himselfe. Polydor, Fabian.] Shortlie after, king Alured tooke vpon him the habit of a minstrell, and going foorth of his closure, repaired to the campe of the Danish king, onelie accompanied with one trustie seruant, and tarrieng there certeine daies togither, was suffered to go into euerie part, and plaie on his instrument, as well afore the king as others, so that there was no secret, but that he vnderstood it. Now when he had seene and learned the demeanour of his enimies, he returned againe to his people at Edlingsey, and there declared to his nobles what he had seene and heard, what negligence was amongst the enimies, and how easie a matter it should be for him to indamage them. Wherevpon they conceiuing a maruellous good hope, and imboldened with his words, a power was assembled togither, and spies sent foorth to learne and bring woord where the Danes lodged: which being doone, and certificat [Sidenote: Henr. Hunt. 877.] made accordinglie, king Alured comming vpon them on the sudden, slue of them a great number, hauing them at great aduantage.
[Sidenote: 878.] About the same time the brother of king Halden came with thirtie [Sidenote: Matth. West.] and three ships out of Wales into the countrie of Westsaxons, on the coast of Deuonshire, where the Deuonshire men gaue him battell, and slue him with 840 persons of his retinue. Other write, that Halden himselfe was present at this conflict, with Inguare, otherwise called [Sidenote: Simon Dun.] Hungar, and that they were both slaine there, with twelue hundred of their companie (before a certeine castell called Kinwith) receiuing as they had deserued for their cruell dealing latelie by them practised in the parties of Southwales, where they had wasted all afore them with fire and swoord, not sparing abbeies more than other common buildings.
King Alured being with that good lucke the more comforted, builded a [Sidenote: Athelney.] fortresse in the Ile of Edlingsey, afterwards called Athelney, and breaking out oftentimes vpon the enimies, distressed them at sundrie times with the aid of the Summersetshire men, which were at hand. About the seuenth weeke after Easter, in the seuenth yeere of his reigne, king Alured went to Eglerighston, on the east part of Selwood, where there came to him the people of Summersetshire, Wiltshire, & Hamshire, reioising greatlie to see him abroad. From thence he [Sidenote: Edantdune. This battell should seeme the same that Polydor speaketh of fought at Abingdon. Polychron. Iohn Pike.] went to Edanton, & there fought against the armie of the Danes, and chased them vnto their strength, where he remained afore them the space of foureteene daies. Then the armie of the Danes deliuered him hostages and couenants to depart out of his dominions, and that their king should be baptised, which was accomplished: for Gurthrun, whome [Sidenote: Gurthrun or Gurmund baptised, and named Adelstan is made king of Eastangle.] some name Gurmond, a prince or king amongst these Danes, came to Alured and was baptised, king Alured receiuing him at the fontstone, named him Adelstan, and gaue to him the countrie of Eastangle, which he gouerned (or rather spoiled) by the space of twelue yeeres.
Diuerse other of the Danish nobilitie to the number of thirtie (as Simon Dunelmensis saith) came at the same time in companie of their king Gurthrun, and were likewise baptised, on whome king Alured bestowed manie rich gifts. At the same time (as is to be thought) was the league concluded betwixt king Alured and the said Gurthrun or Gurmond, in which the bounds of king Alureds kingdome are set foorth thus: "First therefore let the bounds or marshes of our dominion stretch vnto the riuer of Thames, and from thence to the water of Lee, euen vnto the head of the same water, and so foorth streight vnto Bedford: and finallie going alongst by the riuer of Ouse, let them end at Watlingstreet."
This league being made with the aduise of the same sage personages as well English as those that inhabited within east England, is set foorth in maister Lamberts booke of the old English lawes, in the end of those lawes or ordinances which were established by the same king Alured, as in the same booke ye may see more at large.
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Th' English called diuers people Danes whom the French named Normans, whervpon that generall name was giuen them; Gurmo Anglicus K. of Denmark, whose father Frotto was baptised in England; the Danes besiege Rochester, Alfred putteth them to flight, recouereth London out of their hands, and committeth it to the custodie of duke Eldred his sonne in law; he assaulteth Hasting a capteine of the Danes, causeth him to take an oth, his two sonnes are baptised; he goeth foorth to spoile Alfreds countrie, his wife, children, and goods, &c: are taken, and fauourablie giuen him againe; the Danes besiege Excester, they flie to their ships, gaine with great losse, they are vanquished by the Londoners, the death of Alfred, his issue male and female.
THE XV. CHAPTER.
Here is to be noted, that writers name diuerse of the Danish capteins, kings (of which no mention is made in the Danish chronicles) to reigne in those parties. But true it is, that in those daies, not onelie the Danish people, but also other of those northeast countries or regions, as Swedeners, Norwegians, the Wondens, and such other (which the English people called by one generall name Danes, and the Frenchmen Normans) vsed to roaue on the seas, and to inuade forren regions, as England, France, Flanders, and others, as in conuenient places ye may find, as well in our histories, as also in the writers of the French histories, and likewise in the chronicles of those north regions. The [Sidenote: Gurmo.] writers verelie of the Danish chronicles make mention of one Gurmo, whome they name Anglicus, bicause he was borne here in England, which succeeded his father Frotto in gouernement of the kingdome of Denmarke, which Frotto receiued baptisme in England, as their stories tell.
[Sidenote: Hen. Hunt. 878.] In the eight yeere of king Alfred his reigne, the armie of the Danes wintered at Cirencester, and the same yeere an other armie of strangers called Wincigi laie at Fulham, and in the yeere following departed foorth of England, and went into France, and the armie of [Sidenote: 879.] king Godrun or Gurmo departed from Cirencester, and came into Eastangle, and there diuiding the countrie amongst them, began to inhabit the same. In the 14 yeere of king Alfred his reigne, part [Sidenote: Simon Dun. Matth. West] of the Danish armie which was gone ouer into France, returned into [Sidenote: Rochester beseiged. 885.] England and besieged Rochester. But when Alfred approched to the reskue, the enimies fled to their ships, and passed ouer the sea againe. King Alfred sent a nauie of his ships well furnished with men of warre into Eastangle, the which at the mouth of the riuer called Sture, incountering with 16 ships of the Danes, set vpon them, and ouercame them in fight: but as they returned with their prises, they incountered with another mightie armie of the enimies, and fighting with them were ouercome and vanquished. In the yeere following, [Sidenote: 889.] king Alfred besieged the citie of London, the Danes that were within fled from thence, and the Englishmen that were inhabitants thereof [Sidenote: London recouered out of the hands of the Danes.] gladlie receiued him, reioising that there was such a prince bred of their nation, that was of power able to reduce them into libertie. This citie being at that season the chiefe of all Mercia, he deliuered into the keeping of duke Eldred, which had maried his daughter [Sidenote: Wil. Malm. Ethelfleda. Colwolphas.] Ethelfleda, & held a great portion of Mercia, which Colwolphus before time possesed by the grant of the Danes, after they had subdued K. Burthred (as before is said.) About the 21 yere of K. Alfred, an [Sidenote: Limer, now Rother. Andredeslegia. A castell built at Appledore. 893] armie of those Danes & Normans, which had beene in France, returned into England, and arriued in the hauen or riuer of Limene in the east part of Kent, neere to the great wood called Andredesley, which did conteine in times past 120 miles in length, and thirtie in breadth. These Danes landing with their people builded a castle at Appledore.
In the meane time came Hasting with 80 ships into the Thames, and [Sidenote: Simon Dun. At Milton. Hasting the capteine of the Danes besieged. He receiueth an oth.] builded a castle at Middleton, but he was constreined by siege which king Alfred planted about him, to receiue an oth that he should not in any wise annoie the dominion of king Alfred, who vpon his promise to depart, gaue great gifts as well to him as to his wife and children. One of his sonnes also king Alfred held at the fontstone, and to the other duke Aldred was god father. For (as it were to win credit, and to auoid present danger) Hasting sent vnto Alfred these his two sonnes, signifieng that if it stood with his pleasure, he could be content that they should be baptised. But neuerthelesse this Hasting was euer most vntrue of word and deed, he builded a castle at Beamfield. And as he was going foorth to spoile and wast the kings [Sidenote: Beanfield saith M. West.] countries, Alfred tooke that castle, with his wife, children, ships [Sidenote: This enterprise was atchiued by Etheldred duke of Mercia in the absence of the king, as Matth. West. hath noted] and goods, which he got togither of such spoiles as he had abroad: but he restored vnto Hasting his wife and children, bicause he was their godfather.
Shortlie after, newes came that a great number of other ships of [Sidenote: Excester besieged.] Danes were come out of Northumberland, and had besieged Excester. Whilest king Alfred went then against them, the other armie which lay at Appledore inuaded Essex, and built a castell in that countrie, and after went into the borders of Wales, and builded another castell [Sidenote: Seuerne.] neere vnto the riuer of Seuerne: but being driuen out of that countrie, they returned againe into Essex. Those that had besieged Excester, vpon knowledge had of king Alfreds comming, fled to their ships, and so remaining on the sea, roaued abroad, seeking preies. [Sidenote: Chester taken by Danes.] Besides this, other armies there were sent foorth, which comming out of Northumberland tooke the citie of Chester, but there they [Sidenote: Great famine] were so beset about with their enimies, that they were constreined to eate their horsses. At length, in the 24 yeere of king Alfred, they left that citie, and fetcht a compas about Northwales, and so [Sidenote: Hen. Hunt.] meaning to saile round about the coast to come into Northumberland, they arriued in Essex, and in the winter following drew their ships by [Sidenote: The water of Luie, now Lee.] the Thames into the water of Luie. That armie of Danes which had besieged Excester, tooke preies about Chichester, and was met with, so that they lost manie of their men, and also diuerse of their ships.
In the yeere following, the other armie which had brought the ships [Sidenote: Hen. Hunt.] into the riuer Luie, began to build a castell neere to the same riuer, twentie miles distant from London: but the Londoners came [Sidenote: The Londoners victors against the Danes.] thither, and giuing battell to the Danes, slue foure of the chiefe capteins. But by Simon Dunel. and Matt. Westm. it should seeme, that the Londoners were at this time put to flight, and that foure of the kings barons were slaine in fight, Howbeit Henrie Hunt. hath written as before I haue recited; and further saith, that when the Danes fled for their refuge to the castell, king Alfred caused the water of Luie to be diuided into three chanels, so that the Danes should not bring backe their ships out of the place where they laie at anchor. When the Danes perceiued this, they left their ships behind them, and went [Sidenote: Quathbridge or Wakebridge.] into the borders of Wales, where at Cartbridge vpon Seuerne they built another castell, and lay there all the winter following, hauing left their wiues and children in the countrie of Eastangles. King Alfred pursued them, but the Londoners tooke the enimies ships, and brought some of them to the citie, and the rest they burnt.
Thus for the space of three yeeres after the arriuing of the maine armie of the Danes in the hauen of Luie, they sore indamaged the English people, although the Danes themselues susteined more losse at the Englishmens hands than they did to them with all pilfering and [Sidenote: The Danish armie diuided into parts.] spoiling. In the fourth yeere after their comming, the armie was diuided, so that one part of them went into Northumberland, part of them remained in the countrie of Eastangles, & another part went into France. Also certeine of their ships came vpon the coast of the Westsaxons, oftentimes setting their men on land to rob and spoile the countrie. But king Alfred tooke order in the best wise he might for defense of his countrie and people, and caused certeine mightie vessels to be builded, which he appointed foorth to incounter with the enimies ships.
[Sidenote: The death of king Alfred.] Thus like a worthie prince and politike gouernor, he preuented each way to resist the force of his enimies, and to safegard his subiects. Finallie after he had reigned 29 yeeres and an halfe, he departed this life the 28 day of October. His bodie was buried at [Sidenote: His issue.] Winchester: he left behind him issue by his wife Ethelwitha the daughter vnto earle Ethelred of Mercia, two sonnes, Edward surnamed the elder, which succeeded him, and Adelwold: also three [Sidenote: Elfleda.] daughters, Elfleda or Ethelfleda, Ethelgeda or Edgiua, and Ethelwitha.
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How Elfleda king Alfreds daughter (being maried) contemned fleshlie pleasure; the praise of Alfred for his good qualities, his lawes for the redresse of theeues, his diuiding of countries into hundreds and tithings, of what monasteries he was founder, he began the foundation of the vniuersitie of Oxford, which is not so ancient as Cambridge by 265 yeeres; king Alfred was learned, his zeale to traine his people to lead an honest life, what learned men were about him, the pitifull murthering of Iohn Scot by his owne scholers, how Alfred diuided the 24 houres of the day and the night for his necessarie purposes, his last will and bequests; the end of the kingdome of Mercia, the Danes haue it in their hands, and dispose it as they list, Eastangle and Northumberland are subiect vnto them, the Northumbers expell Egbert their king, his death; the Danes make Guthred king of Northumberland, priuileges granted to S. Cuthberts shrine; the death of Guthred, and who succeeded him in the seat roiall.
THE XVJ. CHAPTER.
In the end of the former chapter we shewed what children Alfred had, their number & names, among whome we made report of Elfleda, who (as you haue heard) was maried vnto duke Edelred. This gentlewoman left a notable example behind hir of despising fleshlie plesure, for bearing hir husband one child, and sore handled before she could be deliuered, [Sidenote: The notable saieng of Elfleda.] she euer after forbare to companie with hir husband, saieng that it was great foolishnesse to vse such pleasure which therwith should bring so great griefe.
To speake sufficientlie of the woorthie praise due to so noble a prince as Alfred was, might require eloquence, learning, and a large volume. He was of person comelie and beautifull, and better beloued of his father and mother than his other brethren. And although he was [Sidenote: Will. Malmes.] (as before is touched) greatly disquieted with the inuasion of forren enimies, yet did he both manfullie from time to time indeuour himselfe to repell them, and also attempted to see his subiects gouerned in [Sidenote: King Alfred his lawes.] good and vpright iustice. And albeit that good lawes amongst the clinking noise of armor are oftentimes put to silence, yet he perceiuing how his people were greeued with theeues and robbers, which in time of warre grew and increased, deuised good statutes and wholsome ordinances for punishing of such offenders.
Amongst other things he ordeined that the countries should be diuided into hundreds and tithings, that is to say, quarters conteining a certeine number of towneships adioining togither, so that euerie Englishman liuing vnder prescript of lawes, should haue both his hundred and tithing; that if anie man were accused of anie offense, he should find suertie for his good demeanor: and if he could not find such as would answer for him, then should he tast extremitie of the lawes. And if anie man that was giltie fled before he found suertie, or after: all the inhabitants of the hundred or tithing where he dwelt, shuld be put to their fine. By this deuise he brought his countrie into good tranquillitie, so that he caused bracelets of gold to be hanged vp aloft on hils where anie common waies lay, to see if anie durst be so hardie to take them away by stealth. He was a liberall prince namely in relieuing of the poore. To churches he confirmed such priuileges as his father had granted before him, and he also sent rewards by way of deuotion vnto Rome, and to the bodie of saint Thomas in India. Sighelmus the bishop of Shireborne bare the same, and brought from thence rich stones, and sweet oiles of inestimable valure. From Rome also he brought a peece of the holy crosse which pope Martinus did send for a present vnto king Alfred.
[Sidenote: Foundation of monastaries.] Moreouer king Alfred founded three goodlie monasteries, one at Edlingsey, where he liued sometime when the Danes had bereaued him almost of all his kingdome, which was after called Athelney, distant from Taunton in Sumersetshire about fiue miles: the second he builded at Winchester, called the new minster: and the third at Shaftesburie, which was an house of nuns, where he made his daughter Ethelgeda or Edgiua abbesse. But the foundation of the vniuersitie of Oxford passed all the residue of his buildings, which he began by the good exhortation and aduise of Neotus an abbat, in those daies highlie esteemed for his vertue and lerning with Alfred. This worke he tooke in hand about the 23 yeere of his reigne, which was in the yeere [Sidenote: 895.] of our Lord 895. So that the vniuersitie of Cambridge was founded [Sidenote: Polydor. The vniuersitie of Oxford erected.] before this other of Oxford about 265 yeeres, as Polydor gathereth. For Sigebert king of the Eastangles began to erect that vniuersitie at Cambridge about the yeere of our Lord 630.
King Alfred was learned himselfe, and giuen much to studie, insomuch that beside diuerse good lawes which he translated into the English toong, gathered togither and published, he also translated diuerse other bookes out of Latine into English, as Orosius, Pastorale Gregorij, Beda de gestis Anglorum, Boetius de consolatione philosophiae, and the booke of Psalmes; but this he finished not, being preuented by death. So this worthie prince minded well toward the common wealth of his people, in that season when learning was little esteemed amongst the west nations, did studie by all meanes [Sidenote: The vertuous zeale of Alured to bring his people to an honest trade of life.] possible to instruct his subiects in the trade of leading an honest life, and to incourage them generallie to imbrace learning. He would not suffer anie to beare office in the court, except he were lerned: and yet he himselfe was twelue yeeres of age before he could read [Sidenote: He is persuaded by his mother, to applie himselfe to learning.] a word on the booke, and was then trained by his mothers persuasion to studie, promising him a goodlie booke which she had in hir hands, if he would learne to read it.
Herevpon going to his booke in sport, he so earnestlie set his mind thereto, that within a small time he profited maruellouslie, and became such a fauorer of learned men, that he delighted most in their companie, to haue conference with them, and allured diuerse to come [Sidenote: Asserius Meuenensis. Werefridus. Iohn Scot.] vnto him out of other countries, as Asserius Meneuensis bishop of Shirborne, & Werefridus the bishop of Worcester, who by his commandement translated the bookes of Gregories dialogs into English. Also I. Scot, who whiles he was in France translated the book of Dionysius Ariopagita, intituled Hierarchia, out of Greeke into Latine, and after was schoolemaister in the abbeie of Malmesburie, and there murthered by his scholars with penkniues. He had diuerse other about him, both Englishmen & strangers, as Pleimond afterward [Sidenote: Grimbald.] archbishop of Canturburie, Grimbald gouernor of the new monasterie at Winchester, with others.
[Sidenote: Alured diuides the time for his necessarie vses.] But to conclude with this noble prince king Alured, he was so carefull in his office, that he diuided the 24 houres which conteine the day and night, in three parts, so that eight houres he spent in writing, reading, and making his praiers, other eight he emploied in relieuing his bodie with meat, drinke and sleepe, and the other eight he bestowed in dispatching of businesse concerning the gouernement of the realme. He had in his chapell a candle of 24 parts, whereof euerie one lasted an houre: so that the sexton, to whome that charge was committed, by burning of this candle warned the king euar how the time [Sidenote: His last will and testament.] passed away. A little before his death, he ordeined his last will and testament, bequeathing halfe the portion of all his goods iustlie gotten, vnto such monasteries as he had founded. All his rents and reuenues he diuided into two equall parts, and the first part he diuided into three, bestowing the first vpon his seruants in houshold, the second to such labourers and workemen as he kept in his works of sundrie new buildings, the third part he gaue to strangers. The second whole part of his reuenues was so diuided, that the first portion thereof was dispersed amongst the poore people of his countrie, the second to monasteries, the third to the finding of poore scholers, and the fourth part to churches beyond the sea. He was diligent in inquirie how the iudges of his land behaued themselues in their iudgements, and was a sharpe corrector of them which transgressed in that behalfe. To be briefe, he liued so as he was had in great fauour of his neighbours, & highlie honored among strangers. He maried his daughter Ethelswida or rather Elstride vnto Baldwine earle of Flanders, of whome he had two sonnes Arnulfe and Adulfe, the first succeeding in the erledome of Flanders, and the yoonger was made earle of Bullogne.
The bodie of king Alured was first buried in the bishops church: but afterwards, because the Canons raised a fond tale that the same should walke a nights, his sonne king Edward remoued it into the new monasterie which he in his life time had founded. Finallie, in memorie of him a certeine learned clarke made an epitath in Latine, which for the woorthinesse thereof is likewise (verse for verse, and in a maner word for word) translated by Abraham Fleming into English, whose no litle labor hath beene diligentlie imploied in supplieng sundrie insufficiences found in this huge volume.
NOBILITAS innata tibi probitatis honorem Nobilitie by birth to the (o Alfred strong in armes) (Armipotens Alfrede) dedit, probitasque laborem, Of goodnes hath the honor giuen, and honor toilesome harmes, Perpetuumque labor nomen, cui mixta dolori And toilesome harmes an endlesse name, whose ioies were alwaies mext Gaudia semper erant, spes semper mixta timori. With sorow, and whose hope with feare was euermore perplext. Si modo victor eras, ad crastina bella pauebas, If this day thou wert conqueror, the next daies warre thou dredst, Si modo victus eras, in crastina bella parabas, If this day thou wert conquered, to next daies war thou spedst, Cui vestes sudore iugi, cui sica cruore, Whose clothing wet with dailie swet, whose blade with bloudie stainte, Tincta iugi, quantum sit onus regnare probarunt, Do proue how great a burthen tis in roialtie to raine, Non fuit immensi quisquam per climata mundi, There hath not beene in anie part of all the world so wide, Cui tot in aduersis vel respirare liceret, One that was able breath to take, and troubles such abide, Nec tamen aut ferro contritus ponere ferrum, And yet with weapons wearie would not weapons lay aside, Aut gladio potuit vitae finisse labores: Or with the sword the toilesomnesse of life by death diuide. Iam post transactos regni vitaeque labores, Now after labours past of realme and life (which he did spend) Christus ei fit vera quies sceptrumque perenne. Christ is to him true quietnesse and scepter void of end.
In the daies of the foresaid king Alured, the kingdome of Mercia tooke end. For after that the Danes had expelled king Burthred, when he had reigned 22 yeares, he went to Rome, and there died, his wife also Ethelswida, the daughter of king Athulfe that was sonne to king Egbert followed him, and died in Pauia in Lumbardie. The Danes hauing got the [Sidenote: Cewulfe.] countrie into their possession, made one Cewulfe K. thereof, whome they bound with an oth and deliuerie of pledges, that he should not longer keepe the state with their pleasure, and further should be readie at all times to aid them with such power as he should be able to make. This Cewulfe was the seruant of king Burthred. Within foure yeares after the Danes returned, and tooke one part of that kingdome into their owne hands, and left the residue vnto Cewulfe. But within a few yeares after, king Alured obteined that part of Mercia which Cewulfe ruled, as he did all the rest of this land, except those parcels which the Danes held, as Northumberland, the countries of the Eastangles, some part of Mercia, and other.
The yeare, in the which king Alured thus obteined all the dominion of [Sidenote: 886. Matth. West.] that part of Mercia, which Cewulfe had in gouernance, was after the birth of our Sauiour 886, so that the foresaid kingdome continued the space of 302 yeares vnder 22 kings, from Crida to this last Cewulfe. But there be that account the continuance of this kingdome, onelie from the beginning of Penda, vnto the last yeare of Burthred, by which reckoning it stood not past 270 yeares vnder 18, or rather 17 kings, counting the last Cewulfe for none, who began his reigne vnder the subiection of the Danes, about the yeare of our Lord 874, where Penda began his reigne 604.
The Eastangles and the Northumbers in these dales were vnder subiection of the Danes, as partlie may be perceiued by that which [Sidenote: Guthrun K. of the eastangles died 890.] before is rehearsed. After Guthrun that gouerned the Eastangles by the terme of 12 yeares, one Edhirike or Edrike had the rule in those parts, a Dane also, and reigned 14 yeares, and was at length bereued [Sidenote: Simon Dun.] of his gouernement by king Edward the sonne of king Alured, as after shall appeare. But now, although that the Northumbers were brought greatlie vnder foot by the Danes, yet could they not forget [Sidenote: Simon Dun.] their old accustomed maner to stirre tumults and rebellion against [Sidenote: 872. Egbert king of Northumberland expelled from his kingdome.] their gouernours, insomuch that in the yeare 872, they expelled not onelie Egbert, whome the Danes had appointed king ouer one part of the countrie (as before you haue heard) but also their archbishop [Sidenote: Egbert departed this life. Riesig.] Wilfehere. In the yeare following, the same Egbert departed this life, after whome one Rigsig or Ricsige succeeded as king, and the archbishop Wolfehere was restored home.
[Sidenote: The Danes winter in Lindsie.] In the same yeare the armie of Danes which had wintered at London, came from thence into Northumberland, and wintered in Lindseie, at a place called Torkseie, and went the next yeare into Mercia. And [Sidenote: 975.] in the yeare 975, a part of them returned into Northumberland, as [Sidenote: Riesig departed this life.] before ye haue heard. In the yeare following, Riesig the king of [Sidenote: 983.] Northumberland departed this life: after whome an other Egbert succeeded. And in the yeare 983, the armie of the Danes meaning to inhabit in Northumberland, and to settle themselues there, chose [Sidenote: Guthred ordeined king of Northumberland.] Guthrid the sonne of one Hardicnute to their king, whome they had sometime sold to a certeine widow at Witingham. But now by the aduise of an abbat called Aldred, they redeemed his libertie, and ordeined him king to rule both Danes and Englishmen in that countrie. It was said, that the same Aldred being abbat of holie Iland, was warned in a vision by S. Cuthberd, to giue counsell both to the Danes and Englishmen, to make the same Guthrid king. This chanced about the 13 yeare of the reigne of Alured king of Westsaxons.
[Sidenote: The bishops see remoued frō holie iland to Chester in the street.] When Guthrid was established king, he caused the bishops see to be remoued from holie Iland vnto Chester in the street, and for an augmentation of the reuenues and iurisdiction belonging thereto, he assigned and gaue vnto saint Cuthbert all that countrie which lieth betwixt the riuers of Teise and Tine. Which christian act of the king, liuing in a time of palpable blindnesse and mistie superstition, may notwithstanding be a light to the great men and peeres of this age (who pretend religion with zeale, and professe (in shew) the truth with feruencie) not to impouerish the patrimonie of the church to inrich themselues and their posteritie, not to pull from bishoprikes their ancient reuenues to make their owne greater, not to alienate ecclesiasticall liuings into temporall commodities, not to seeke the conuersion of college lands into their priuat possessions; not to intend the subuersion of cathedrall churches to fill their owne cofers, not to ferret out concealed lands for the supporte of their owne priuat lordlines; not to destroy whole towneships for the erection of one statelie manour; not to take and pale in the commons to inlarge their seueralles; but like good and gratious common-wealth-men, in all things to preferre the peoples publike profit before their owne gaine and glorie, before their owne pompe and pleasure, before the satisfieng of their owne inordinate desires.