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Title: Chronicles (1 of 6): The Historie of England (6 of 8) - The Sixt Booke of the Historie of England
Author: Holinshed, Raphael
Language: English
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_Inas king of the Westsaxons, the whole monarchie of the realme
falleth into their hands, Inas for a summe of monie granteth peace
to the Kentishmen, whom he was purposed to haue destroied, he & his
coosen Nun fight with Gerent king of the Britains, and Cheolred king
of Mercia, and Ealdbright king of Southsaxons, the end of their
kingdoms, Inas giueth ouer his roialtie, goeth in pilgrimage to
Rome, and there dieth; his lawes written in the Saxon toong; of what
buildings he was the founder, queene Ethelburgas deuise to persuade
Inas to forsake the world, he was the first procurer of Peter pence
to be paid to Rome; king Ethelred, king Kenred, and king Offa become
moonks; the setting vp of images in this land authorised by a vision;
king Ethelbalds exploits, he is slaine of his owne subiects by the
suggestion of Bernred the vsurper, Boniface his letter of commendation
to king Ethelbald, nuns kept for concubines, their pilgrimage._


[Sidenote: INAS. 689.]
After that Ceadwalla, late K. of the Westsaxons was gone to Rome,
where he departed this life (as afore is shewed) his coosen Inas or
Ine was made king of the Westsaxons, begining his reigne in the yéere
of our Lord 689, in the third yeere of the emperor Iustinianus the
third, the 11 yéere of the reigne of Theodoricus K. of France, and
[Sidenote: The Britains ceasse to reigne in this land]
about the second yéere of the reigne of Eugenius king of Scots. Now
because the rule of the Britains commonlie called Welshmen, ceassed in
this realme, as by confession of their owne writers it appéereth, and
that in the end the whole monarchie of the same realme came to the
hands of the kings of Westsaxons, we haue thought méet to refer things
generall vnto the reignes of the same kings, as before we did in the
Britaine kings, reseruing the particular dooings to the kings of the
other prouinces or kingdoms, as the same haue fallen out, and shall
come to hand.

[Sidenote: _Fabian_. _H. Hunt._]
This Inas, whome some (mistaking N for V) doo wrongfullie name Iue
or Iewe, prooued a right excellent prince, he was descended of the
ancient linage of the kings of the Westsaxons, as sonne to one Kenred,
that was sonne to Ceolwald the son of Cutha or Cutwine, that was sonne
to Kenricke the sonne of Certicus, the first king of Westsaxons. But
he was admitted to the kingdome more for the valiant prowes knowne to
rest in his woorthie person, than for the successiue ofspring of which
he was descended. The first voiage that he made, was against the
Kentishmen, on whome he purposed to reuenge the death of his coosen
[Sidenote: _Matt. Westm._ _Wil. Malm._]
Mollo, the griefe whereof as yet he kept in fresh memorie. But when
the Kentishmen perceiued, that to resist him by force, they were
nothing able, they attempted by monie to buy their peace, and so
obteined their purpose, vpon paiment made to him of thirtie thousand
marks of siluer.

[Sidenote: Anno 708 as is noted by _Matt. West._ _H. Hunt._]
After this, about the 21 yéere of his reigne, king Inas and his
coosen Nun fought with Gerent king of the Britains. In the beginning
of the battell, one Higelbald a noble man of the Westsaxons part was
slaine, but in the end Gerent with his Britains was chased. In the
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ saith 718]
26 yéere of his reigne; the same Inas fought a mightie battell against
Cheolred king of Mercia, at Wodenessburie, with doubtfull victorie,
for it could not well be iudged whether part susteined greater losse.
In the 36 yéere of his reigne, king Inas inuaded the Southsaxons with
a mightie armie, and slue in battell Ealdbright or Aldinius king of
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ saith 722. The end of the kingdome of
the Southsaxons.]
the Southsaxons, and ioined that kingdome vnto the kingdome of
the Westsaxons: so that from thencefoorth the kingdome of those
Southsaxons ceassed, after they had reigned in that kingdome by the
space of five kings successiuelie, that is to say, Ella, Cissa,
Ethelwalke, Berutius, and this last Aldinius or Ealdbright.

Finallie, when Inas had reigned 37 yéeres, and 10 or 11 od moneths,
[Sidenote: Inas went to Rome and there died.]
he renounced the rule of his kingdome, togither with all worldlie
pompe, and went vnto Rome as a poore pilgrime, and there ended his
life: but before this, during the time of his reigne, he shewed
himselfe verie deuout and zealous towards the aduancement of the
christian religion. He made and ordeined also good & wholesome lawes
for the amendment of maners in the people, which are yet extant and to
be read, written in the Saxon toong, and translated into the Latine in
times past, and now latelie againe by William Lambert gentleman, and
printed by Iohn Day, in the yéere 1568, togither with the lawes and
statutes of other kings before the conquest, as to the learned maie

[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
Moreouer, king Ine builded the monasterie of Glastenburie, where
Ioseph of Arimathea in times past builded an oratorie or chappell (as
before is recited) when he with other christians came into this land
in the daies of Aruiragus, & taught the gospell heere to the Britains,
conuerting manie of them to the faith. Moreouer, king Ine or Inas
builded the church of Welles, dedicating it vnto saint Andrew,
where afterwards a bishops sée was placed, which at length was
[Sidenote: Ethelburga.]
translated vnto Salisburie. He had to wife one Ethelburga, a woman of
noble linage, who had béene earnest with him a long time to persuade
him to forsake the world: but she could by no meanes bring hir purpose
to passe, till vpon a time the king and she had lodged at a manor
[Sidenote: _Will. Malmes._]
place in the countrie, where all prouision had béene made for the
receiuing of them and their traine in most sumptuous maner that might
be, as well in rich furniture of houshold, as also in costlie viands,
and all other things needfull, or that might serue for pleasure,
[Sidenote: The deuise of quéene Ethelburga to persuade hir husband to
forsake the world.]
and when they were departed, the quéene the foresaid Ethelburga caused
the keeper of that house to remooue all the bedding, hangings, and
other such things as had béen brought thither and ordeined for the
beautifull setting foorth of the house, and in place thereof to bring
ordure, straw, & such like filth, as well into the chambers and hall,
as into all the houses of office, and that doone, to laie a sow with
pigs in the place where before the kings bed had stood. Héerevpon
when she had knowledge that euerie thing was ordered according to hir
appointment, she persuaded the king to returne thither againe, feining
occasions great and necessarie.

Now when he was returned to that house, which before séemed to the eie
a palace of most pleasure, and now finding it in such a filthie state
as might loath the stomach of anie man to behold the same, she tooke
occasion therevpon to persuade him to the consideration of the vaine
pleasures of this world, which in a moment turne to naught, togither
with the corruption of the flesh, being a filthie lumpe of claie,
after it should once be disolued by death: and in fine, where before
she had spent much labour to mooue him to renounce the world, though
all in vaine, yet now the beholding of that change in his pleasant
palace, wherein so late he had taken great delight, wrought such an
alteration in his mind, that hir woords lastlie tooke effect: so that
he resigned the kingdome to his coosen Ethelard, and went himselfe to
Rome (as aboue is mentioned) and his wife became a nun in the abbeie
of Barking, where she was made abbesse, and finallie there ended hir
[Sidenote: Peter pence.]
life. This Inas was the first that caused the monie called Peter
pence, to be paid vnto the bishop of Rome, which was for euerie
houshold within his dominion a penie.

[Sidenote: King Ethelred becommeth a moonk.]
In this meane time Edilred or Ethelred, hauing gouerned the
kingdome of Mercia by the tearme of 29 yéeres, became a moonke in the
abbeie of Bardenie, and after was made abbat of that house. He had
[Sidenote: Ostrida.]
to wife one Ostrida the sister of Egfride king of Northumberland, by
whome he had a sonne named Ceolred. But he appointed Kenred the sonne
of his brother Vulfher to succéed him in the kingdome. The said
[Sidenote: _Beda in Epit._ 697.]
Ostrida was cruellie slaine by the treason of hir husbands subiects,
[Sidenote: King Kenred.]
about the yéere of our Lord 697. And as for Kenred, he was a
prince of great vertue, deuout towards God, a furtherer of the
commonwealth of his countrie, and passed his life in great sinceritie
of maners. In the fift yéere of his reigne, he renounced the world,
and went to Rome, togither with Offa king of the Eastsaxons, where
[Sidenote: 711.]
he was made a moonke: and finallie died there, in the yéere of our
[Sidenote: _Nauclerus_. Egwin bishop of Worcester.]
Lord 711. By the aid and furtherance of this Kenred, a moonke of
saint Benets order (called Egwin) builded the abbeie of Eueshame, who
afterwards was made bishop of Worcester.

[Sidenote: A fabulous and trifling deuise.]
¶ We find recorded by writers, that this Egwin had warning giuen
him by visions (as he constantlie affirmed before pope Constantine)
to set vp an image of our ladie in his church. Wherevpon the pope
approuing the testifications of this bishop by his buls, writ to
Brightwald archbishop of Canturburie, to assemble a synod, and by
authoritie thereof to establish the vse of images, charging the kings
of this land to be present at the same synod, vpon paine of
[Sidenote: _Bale_. 712.]
excommunication. This synod was holden about the yéere of our Lord
712, in the daies of Inas king of Westsaxons, and of Ceolred king of
Mercia successor to the foresaid Kenred.

After Kenred succéeded Ceolred, the sonne of his vncle Edilred, & died
[Sidenote: _H. Hunt._]
in the 8 yeere of his reigne, and was buried at Lichfield. Then
succéeded Ethelbaldus that was descended of Eopa the brother of king
Penda, as the fourth from him by lineall succession. This man gouerned
a long time without anie notable trouble: some warres he had, and sped
[Sidenote: _Ran. Cestren._]
diuerslie. In the 18 yéere of his reigne, he besieged Sommerton
and wan it. He also inuaded Northumberland, and got there great riches
by spoile and pillage, which he brought from thence without anie
battell offered to him.

[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
He ouercame the Welshmen in battell, being then at quiet, and
[Sidenote: Bereford. 755.]
ioined as confederats with Cuthred K. of Westsaxons. But in the
37 yéere of his reigne, he was ouercome in battell at Bereford by the
same Cuthred, with whome he was fallen at variance, and within foure
yéeres after, that is to say, in the 41 yéere of his reigne he was
[Sidenote: Thrée miles from Tamworth. _Wil. Malm._ 758.]
slaine in battell at Secandon, or Sekenton, by his owne subiects,
which arreared warres against him, by the procurement and leading of
one Bernred, who after he had slaine his naturall prince, tooke vpon
him the kingdome: but he prospered not long, being slaine by Offa that
succéeded him in rule of the kingdome of Mercia, as after shall be
shewed. The bodie of Ethelbald was buried at Ripton.
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._]

[Sidenote: The historie of Magd.]
Bonifacius the archbishop of Mentiz or Moguntz, hauing assembled a
councell with other bishops and doctors, deuised a letter, and sent it
vnto this Ethelbald, commending him for his good deuotion and charitie
in almes-giuing to the reliefe of the poore, and also for his vpright
dealing in administration of iustice, to the punishment of robbers
and such like misdooers: but in that he absteined from mariage, and
wallowed in filthie lecherie with diuerse women, and namelie with
nuns, they sore blamed him, and withall declared in what infamie the
whole English nation in those daies remained by common report in other
countries for their licentious liuing in sinfull fornication, and
namelie the most part of the noble men of Mercia by his euill example
did forsake their wiues, and defloured other women which they kept
[Sidenote: Nuns kept for concubines.]
in adulterie, as nuns and others. Moreouer, he shewed how that such
euill women, as well nuns as other, vsed to make awaie in secret wise
their children which they bare out of wedlocke, and so filled the
graues with dead bodies, and hell with damned soules. The same
Bonifacius in an other espistle wich he wrote vnto Cutbert the
[Sidenote: Pilgrimage of nuns.]
archbishop of Canturburie, counselled him not to permit the
English nuns to wander abroad so often on pilgrimage, bicause there
were few cities either in France or Lombardie, wherein might not be
found English women, that liued wantonlie in fornication and whordome.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Offa king of the Eastsaxons with other go to Rome, he is shauen and
becommeth a moonke, succession in the kingdome of the Eastsaxons and
Eastangles, Osred king of Northumberland hath carnall knowledge
with nuns, he is slaine in battell, Osrike renouncing his kingdome
becommeth a moonke, bishop Wilfrid twise restored to his see,
Westsaxonie diuided in two diocesses, bishop Aldhelme a founder of
religious houses; Ethelard succeedeth Inas in regiment, two blasing
starres seene at once, and what insued, the king dieth: the successiue
reigne of Wichtreds three sonnes ouer Kent, what prouinces were
gouerned by bishops; of what puissance Ethelbald king of Mercia was,
Egbert archbishop of Yorke aduanceth his see; a notable remembrance of
that excellent man Beda, his death._


[Sidenote: Kings of the Eastsaxons. _Beda lib. 5. cap. 20_.
Offa king of Eastsaxons.]
In this meane time Sighard and Seufred, kings of the Eastsaxons,
being departed this life, one Offa that was sonne to Sigerius
succéeded in gouernment of that kingdome, a man of great towardnesse,
and of right comelie countenance: but after he had ruled a certeine
time, being mooued with a religious deuotion, he went to Rome in
companie of Kenred king of Mercia, and of one Egwine bishop of
Worcester, and being there shauen into the order of moonks, so
[Sidenote: King Selred.]
continued till he died. After him one Selred the sonne of Sigbert the
good, ruled the Eastsaxons the tearme of 38 yéeres. After Aldulfe the
[Sidenote: 688.]
king of Eastangles departed this fraile life, which chanced about
the yéere of our Lord 688, his brother Elcwold or Akwold succéeded
him, and reigned about twelue yéeres. After whose decease one Beorne
was made king of Eastangles, and reigned about 26 yéeres. In this
[Sidenote: 705. _Wil. Malm._ Osred king of Northumberland.]
meane while, that is to say, in the yeere of our Lord 705, Alfride
king of Northumberland being dead, his sonne Osred, a child of 8
yéeres of age succeeded him in the kingdome, and reigned 11 yéeres,
spending his time when he came to ripe yeeres in filthie abusing his
bodie with nuns, and other religious women.

About the seuenth yéere of his reigne, that is to say, in the yéere of
[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._ Picts ouerthrowne by the Northumbers.]
our Lord 711, one of his capteins named earle Berthfride fought
with the Picts, betwixt two places called Heue and Cere, and obteining
the victorie, slue an huge number of the enimies. At length king Osred
by the traitorous means of his coosens that arreared warre against
[Sidenote: King Osred slaine in batell.]
him, was slaine in battell, and so ended his reigne, leauing to
those that procured his death the like fortune in time to come. For
Kenred reigning two yéeres, and Osricke ten yeeres, were famous onelie
in this, that being worthilie punished for shedding the bloud of their
naturall prince and souereigne lord, they finished their liues with
dishonourable deaths, as they had well deserued. Osricke before
[Sidenote: 729.]
his death, which chanced in the yéere of our Lord 729, appointed
Ceolwolfe the brother of his predecessor Kenred, to succeed him in the
kingdome, which he did, reigning as king of the Northumbers by the
space of 8 yéeres currant, and then renouncing his kingdom, became a
moonke in the Ile of Lindesferne.

[Sidenote: _Beda_. Acca bishop of Hexham.]
In this meane while, bishop Wilfride being dead, one Acca that was
his chapline was made bishop of Hexham. The said Wilfride had béene
bishop by the space of 45 yéeres: but he liued a long time in exile.
For first being archbishop of Yorke, and exercising his iurisdiction
ouer all the north parts, he was after banished by king Egbert, and
againe restored to the sée of Hexham in the second yeere of king
Alfride, and within fiue yéeres after eftsoones banished by the same
Alfride, and the second time restored by his successor king Osred,
in the fourth yeere of whose reigne, being the yéere after the
incarnation of our Sauiour 709, he departed this life, and was buried
at Rippon. Moreouer, after Iohn the archbishop of Yorke had resigned,
one Wilfride surnamed the second was made archbishop of that sée:
which Wilfride was chapline to the said Iohn, and gouerned that sée by
[Sidenote: 710.]
the space of fiftéene yéeres, and then died. About the yéere of
our Lord 710, the abbat Adrian which came into this land with Theodore
the archbishop of Canturburie (as before ye haue heard) departed this
life, about 39 yéeres after his comming thither.

[Sidenote: Two bishops sées _Matth. West._ Bishop Daniell.]
Also Inas the king of Westsaxons, about the 20 yeere of his
reigne, diuided the prouince of the Westsaxons into two bishops sées,
whereas before they had but one. Daniell was ordeined to gouerne the
one of those sees, being placed at Winchester, hauing vnder him
[Sidenote: Bishop Aldhelme.]
Sussex, Southerie and Hamshire. And Aldhelme was appointed to
Shireburne, hauing vnder him, Barkeshire, Wiltshire, Sommersetshire,
Dorsetshire, Deuonshire, and Cornwall. This Aldhelme was a learned
[Sidenote: The abbeie of Malmesburie.]
man, and was first made abbat of Malmesburie, in the yéere of our Lord
675 by Eleutherius then bishop of the Westsaxons, by whose diligence
that abbeie was greatlie aduanced, being afore that time founded by
one Medulfe a Scotish man, but of so small reuenues afore Aldhelms
time, that the moonks were scarse able to liue thereon. Also the same
Aldhelme was a great furtherer vnto king Inas in the building of

[Sidenote: ETHELARD. 728. _Matth. West._ saith 727.]
Ethelard, the coosen of king Inas, to whome the same Inas resigned
his kingdome, began to gouerne the Westsaxons in the yéere of our
Lord 728, or rather 27, which was in the 11 yéere of the emperor Leo
Isaurus, in the second yeere of Theodorus king of France, and about
the 8 or 9 yéere of Mordacke king of the Scots. In the first yéere
of Ethelards reigne, he was disquieted with ciuill warre, which one
Oswald a noble man, descended of the roiall bloud of the Westsaxon
kings, procured against him: but in the end, when he perceiued that
the kings power was too strong for him, he fled out of the countrie,
leauing it thereby in rest.

[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ 729. Blasing stars.]
In the yéere 729, in the moneth of Ianuarie there appeered two
comets or blasing starres, verie terrible to behold, the one rising in
the morning before the rising of the sunne, and the other after the
setting thereof: so that the one came before the breake of the day,
and the other before the closing of the night, stretching foorth their
fierie brands toward the north; and they appeered thus euerie morning
and euening for the space of a fortnight togither, menacing as it
were some great destruction or common mishap to follow. The Saracens
shortlie after entred France, and were ouerthrowne. Finallie, when
king Ethelard had reigned the terme of fouretéene yeeres currant, he
departed this life.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm. _]
Now when Wichtred king of Kent had gouerned the Kentishmen by the
space of 33 yéeres, with great commendation for the good orders which
he caused to be obserued amongst them, as well concerning matters
ecclesiasticall as temporal, he departed this life, leauing behind him
thrée sonnes, who successiuelie reigned as heires to him one after
another (that is to say) Edbert 23 yéeres, Ethelbert 11 yeeres
currant, and Alrike 34 yeeres, the which three princes following
the steps of their father in the obseruance of politike orders &
commendable lawes, vsed for the more part their fathers good lucke and
[Sidenote: _Beda. lib. 5. cap. 24_.]
fortune, except that in Ethelberts time the citie of Canturburie
was burned by casuall fire, and Alrike lost a battell against them of
Mercia, whereby the glorie of their times was somewhat blemished: for
so it came to passe, that whatsoeuer chanced euill, was kept still in
memorie, and the good haps that came forward, were soone forgotten and
[Sidenote: 731.]
put out of remembrance. In the yéere of our Lord 731, Betrwald
archbishop of Canturburie departed this life in the fift ides of
Ianuarie, after he had gouerned that see by the space of 27 yéeres, 6
moneths, and 14 daies: in whose place the same yéere one Tacwine was
ordeined archbishop, that before was a priest in the monasterie of
Bruidon within the prouince of Mercia. He was consecrated in the citie
of Canturburie, by the reuerend fathers Daniell bishop of Winchester,
Ingwald bishop of London, Aldwin bishop of Lichfield, and Aldwulfe
bishop of Rochester, the tenth day of Iune being sundaie.
[Sidenote: Bishops what parishes they governed.]
¶ As touching the state of the English church for ecclesiasticall
gouernours, certeine it is, that the same was as hereafter followeth.
The prouince of Canturburie was gouerned touching the ecclesiasticall
state by archbishop Tacwine, and bishop Aldwulfe. The prouince of the
Eastsaxons by bishop Ingwald. The prouince of Eastangles by bishop
Eadbertus and Hadulacus, the one kéeping his sée at Elsham, and the
other at Dunwich. The prouince of the Westsaxons was gouerned by the
foresaid Daniell and by Forthere, who succéeded next after Aldhelme in
the sée of Shereburne. This Forthere in the yéere of our Lord 738,
[Sidenote: _Matth, West._]
left his bishoprike, and went to Rome in companie of the quéene of the
Westsaxons. Many as well kings as bishops, noble and vnnoble, priests
and laiemen, togither with women, vsed to make such iournies thither
in those daies. The prouince of Mercia was ruled by the foresaid
Aldwine bishop of Lichfield, and one bishop Walstod holding his sée
at Herford gouerned those people that inhabited beyond the riuer of
Sauerne toward the west. The prouince of Wiccies, that is, Worcester,
one Wilfride gouerned. The Southsaxons and the Ile of Wight were vnder
the bishop of Winchester. In the prouince of the Northumbers were
foure bishops, that is to say, Wilfride archbishop of Yorke, Edilwald
bishop of Lindisferne, Acca bishop of Hexham, and Pecthelmus bishop
of Whiterne, otherwise called Candida Casa, he was the first that
gouerned that church after the same was made a bishops sée. And thus
stood the state of the English church for ecclesiasticall gouernors in
that season.

[Sidenote: Ethelbald K. of Mercia, of what puissance he was.]
And as for temporall gouernement, king Ceolvulfe had the
souereigne dominion ouer all the Northumbers: but all the prouinces
on the southside of Humber, with their kings and rulers, were subiect
vnto Edilbald or Ethelbald king of Mercia. The nation of the Picts
were in league with the English men, and gladlie became partakers of
the catholike faith and veritie of the vniuersall church. Those Scots
which inhabited Britaine, contenting themselues with their owne
bounds, went not about to practise anie deceitfull traines nor
fraudulent deuises against the Englishmen. The Britains otherwise
called Welshmen, though for the more part of a peculiar hatred they
did impugne the English nation, & the obseruance of the feast of Ester
appointed by the whole catholike church, yet (both diuine and humane
force vtterlie resisting them) they were not able in neither behalfe
to atteine to their wished intentions, as they which though they were
partlie frée, yet in some point remained still as thrall and mancipate
to the subiection of the Englishmen: who (saith Beda) now in the
acceptable time of peace and quietnesse, manie amongst them of
Northumberland, laieng armour and weapon aside, applied themselues
to the reading of holie scriptures, more desirous to be professed in
religious houses, than to exercise feates of warre: but what will come
therof (saith he) the age that followeth shall sée and behold. With
these words dooth Beda end his historie, continued till the yéere of
our Lord 731, which was from the comming of the Englishmen into this
land, about 285 yéeres, according to his account.

[Sidenote: 732. _Wil. Malm._]
In the yéere following, that is to say 732, in place of Wilfrid
the second, Egbert was ordeined bishop of Yorke. This Egbert was
brother vnto an other Egbert, who as then was king of Northumberland,
by whose helpe he greatlie aduanced the see of Yorke, and recouered
the pall: so that where all the other bishops that held the same sée
before him sith Paulins daies, wanted the pall, and so were counted
simplie but particular bishops: now was he intituled by the name of
archbishop. He also got togither a great number of good books,
[Sidenote: 733.]
which he bestowed in a librarie at Yorke. ¶ In the yéere 733, on the
18 kalends of September, the sunne suffered a great eclipse about
three of the clocke in the after noone, in somuch that the earth
seemed to be couered with a blacke and horrible penthouse.

[Sidenote: 735 _Beda_ departed this life]
In the yéere 735, that reuerend and profound learned man Beda
departed this life, being 82 yéeres of age, vpon Ascension day, which
was the 7 kalends of Iune, and 26 of Maie, as Matt. Westm. hath
diligentlie obserued. W. Harison addeth hitherto, that it is to be
read in an old epistle of Cutbert moonke of the same house vnto
Cuthwine, that the said Beda lieng in his death-bed, translated the
gospell of saint Iohn into English, and commanded his brethren to
be diligent in reading and contemplation of good bookes, and not to
exercise themselues with fables and friuolous matters. Finallie he was
buried in the abbeie of Geruie, distant fiue miles from Wiremouth, an
abbeie also in the north parts, not far from Newcastell (as is before
remembred.) He was brought vp in those two abbeies, and was scholar
to John of Beuerley. How throughlie he was séene in all kinds of good
literature, the bookes which hée wrote doo manifestlie beare witnesse.
His judgement also was so much estéemed ouer all, that Sergius the
bishop of Rome wrote vnto Celfride the abbat of Wiremouth, requiring
him to send Beda vnto the court of Rome for the deciding of certein
questions mooued there, which without his opinion might séeme to rest
doubtful. But whether he went thither or not we can not affirme: but
as it is thought by men worthie of credit, he neuer went out of this
land, but continued for the most part of his life in the abbeies of
Geruie and Wiremouth, first vnder Benet the first abbat and founder of
the same abbeies, and after vnder the said Celfride, in whose time he
receiued orders of priesthood at the hands of bishop Iohn, surnamed
of Beuerley: so that it may be maruelled that a man, borne in the
vttermost corner of the world, should proue so excellent in all
knowledge and learning, that his fame should so spread ouer the whole
[Sidenote: _Crantzius_.]
earth, and went neuer out of his natiue countrie to séeke it. But
who that marketh in reading old histories the state of abbeies and
monasteries in those daies, shall well perceiue that they were ordered
after the maner of our schooles or colleges, hauing in them diuerse
learned men, that attended onelie to teach & bring vp youth in
knowledge of good learning, or else to go abroad and preach the word
of God in townes and villages adjoining.

[Sidenote: 735.]
The same yéere died archbishop Tacuine, and in the yéere following,
that is to say 735, Nothelmus was ordeined archbishop of Canturburie
in his place, and Egbert the archbishop of Yorke the same yéere got
his pall from Rome, and so was confirmed archbishop, and ordeined two
bishops, Fruidberd, and Fruidwald. But some refer it to the yéere 744.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cuthred king of the Westsaxons, he is greatlie troubled by Ethelbald
king of Mercia, they are pacified; Kenric king Cuthreds sonne slaine,
earle Adelme rebelleth against him whom the king pardoneth; Cuthred
fighteth with Ethelbald at Hereford, he hath the victorie, he falleth
sicke and dieth; Sigebert succedeth him in the kingdome, he is cruell
to his people, he is expelled from his roiall estate, murther reuenged
with murther, succession in the kingdome of Eastangles, kings change
their crownes for moonks cowles; the Britaines subiect to the king of
Northumberland and the king of Picts, the moone eclipsed._


[Sidenote: CUTHRED.]
After the decease of Ethelard king of Westsaxons, his coosine
Cuthred was made king and gouernour of those people, reigning the
tearme of 16 yéeres. He began his reigne in the yeere of our Lord
[Sidenote: 740.]
740, in the twentie fourth yere of the emperour Leo Isaurus, in the
14 yéere of the reigne of the second Theodorus Cala K. of France, and
about the 6 yéere of Ethfine king of Scots. This Cuthred had much to
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ _Hen. Hunt._]
doo against Edilbald king of Mercia, who one while with stirring
his owne subiects the Westsaxons to rebellion, an other while with
open warre, and sometime by secret craft and subtill practises sought
to disquiet him. Howbeit, in the fourth yeere of his reigne, a peace
was concluded betwixt them, and then ioining their powers togither,
they went against the Welshmen, & gaue them a great ouerthrow, as
[Sidenote: Kenric the kings sonne slaine.]
before is partlie touched. In the 9 yeere of this Cuthreds reigne,
his sonne Kenric was slaine in a seditious tumult amongst his men of
warre, a gentleman yoong in yeeres, but of a stout courage, and
[Sidenote: 749.]
verie forward, wherby (as was thought) he came the sooner to his
wofull end.

[Sidenote: _Matth. West._]
[Sidenote: 751.]
In the 11 yeere of his reigne, Cuthred had wars against one of his
earls called Adelme, who raising a commotion against him, aduentured
to giue battell though he had the smaller number of men, and yet was
at point to haue gone away with victorie, if by a wound at that
instant receiued, his periurie had not béene punished, and the kings
[Sidenote: 752 _Matt. West._]
iust cause aduanced to triumph ouer his aduersarie, whom yet by
way of reconciliation he pardoned. In the 13 yeere of his reigne,
king Cuthred being not well able to susteine the proud exactions
and hard dooings of Edilbald king of Mercia, raised his power, and
encountered with the same Edilbald at Hereford, hauing before him the
said earle Adelme, in whose valiant prowesse he put great hope to
atteine victorie: neither was he deceiued, for by the stout conduct
and noble courage of the said Adelme, the loftie pride of king
[Sidenote: K. Edilbald put to flight.]
Edelbald was abated, so that he was there put to flight, and all
his armie discomfited, after sore and terrible fight continued and
mainteined euen to the vttermost point. In the 24 yeere of his reigne,
this Cuthred fought eftsoones with the Welshmen, and obteined the
vpper hand, without anie great losse of his people: for the enimies
were easilie put to flight and chased, to their owne destruction. In
the yeere after, king Cuthred fell sicke, and in the 16 yéere of his
reigne he departed this life, after so manie great victories got
against his enimies.

[Sidenote: SIGIBERT. 755.]
After him succéeded one Sigibert, a cruell and vnmercifull prince
at home, but yet a coward abroad. This Sigbert or Sigibert began his
reigne in the yeare of our Lord 755, verie néere ended. He intreated
his subjects verie euill, setting law and reason at naught. He could
not abide to heare his faults told him, and therefore he cruellie
put to death an earle named Cumbra, which was of his councell, and
faithfullie admonished him to reforme his euill dooings: wherevpon
the rest of his nobles assembled themselues togither with a great
multitude of people, and expelled him out of his estate in the
beginning of the second, or (as some say) the first yeare of his
reigne. Then Sigibert, as he was fearefull of nature; fearing to be
apprehended, got him into the wood called as then Andredeswald, and
there hid himselfe, but by chance a swineheard that belonged to the
late earle Cumbra at Priuets-floud found him out, and perceiuing what
he was, slue him in reuenge of his maisters death.

¶ Lo here you may sée how the righteous iustice of God rewardeth
wicked dooings in this world with worthie recompense, as well as in
the world to come, appointing euill princes sometimes to reigne for
the punishment of the people, according as they deserue, permitting
some of them to haue gouernement a long time, that both the froward
nations may suffer long for their sins, and that such wicked princes
may in an other world tast the more bitter torments. Againe, other
he taketh out of the waie, that the people may be deliuered from
oppression, and also that the naughtie ruler for his misdemeanour may
spéedilie receiue due punishment.

[Sidenote: Ethelred. 738.]
After Beorne king of Eastangles one Ethelred succéeded in gouernment
of that kingdome a man noted to be of good and vertuous qualities,
in that he brought vp his sonne Ethelred (which succéeded him) so in
the feare of the Lord, that he prooued a right godlie prince. This
Ethelbert reigned (as writers say) the terme of 52 yeares.

[Sidenote: Egbert king of Northumberland. 758.]
After that Ceolvulfe king of Northumberland was become a moonke in
the abbie of Lindesferne, his vncles sonne Egbert (by order taken by
the said Ceolvulfe) succeeded him in the kingdome, and gouerned the
same right woorthilie for the terme of 24 yeares, and then became a
moonke, by the example both of his predecessor the forsaid Ceolvulfe,
[Sidenote: Changing of crownes for moonkes cowles. 756.]
and also of diuers other kings in those daies, so that he was the
eight king who in this land had changed a kings crowne for a moonks
cowle (as Simon Dunel. writeth.)

This Egbert (in the 18 yeare of his reigne) and Vngust king of Picts
came to the citie of Alcluid with their armies, and there receiued the
Britains into their subiection, the first-day of August: but the tenth
day of the same month, the armie which he led from Ouan vnto Newbourgh,
was for the more part lost and destroied. ¶ The same yeare on the 8
kalends of December, the moone being as then in hir full, appeared to be
of a bloudie colour, but at length she came to hir accustomed shew,
after a maruellous meanes, for a starre which followed hir, passed by
hir, & went before hir, the like dist[=a]ce as it kept in following hir
before she lost hir vsuall light.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Offa king of Mercia, his manhood and victories against the Kentishmen
and Westsaxons, he killeth Egilbert king of Eastangles by a policie
or subtill deuise of profered curtesie, he inuadeth his kingdome,
and possesseth it, the archbishops see of Canturburie remoued to
Lichfield; archbishop Lambert laboring to defend his prerogatiue is
depriued by king Offa, he seizeth vpon churches and religious houses;
mistrusting his estate, he alieth himselfe with other princes; he
maketh amends for the wrongs that he had doone to churches and
religious houses, he goeth to Rome, maketh his realme tributarie to
the said see, Peter pence paid, he falleth sicke and dieth, places to
this day bearing his name in memorie of him, the short reigne of his


[Sidenote: OFFA. 758.]
After that Offa had slaine Bernred the vsurper of the kingdome
of Mercia (as before is mentioned) the same Offa tooke vppon him the
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ _Wil. Malm._]
gouernment of that kingdome 758, a man of such stoutnesse of
stomach, that he thought he should be able to bring to passe all
things whatsoeuer he conceiued in his mind. He reigned 39 yeares. His
dooings were great and maruellous, and such as some times his vertues
surpassed his vices, and sometime againe his vices seemed to
[Sidenote: The victories of king Offa. _Matth. West._ 779.]
ouermatch his vertues. He ouercame the Kentishmen in a great battell
at Otteford, and the Northumbers also were by him vanquished, and in
battell put to flight. With Kenvulfe king of Westsaxons he fought in
open battell, and obteined a noble victorie, with small losse of his
people, although the same Kenwulfe was a right valiant prince, and a
good capteine.

[Sidenote: Falsehood in fellowship.]
Againe, perceiuing that to procéed with craft, should sooner
aduance his purpose, than to vse open force against Egilbert king of
Eastangles, vnder faire promises to giue vnto him his daughter in
mariage, he allured him to come into Mercia, and receiuing him into
his palace, caused his head to be striken off, and after by wrongfull
meanes inuaded his kingdome, and got it into his possession: yet he
caused the bones of the first martyr of this land saint Albane (by a
miraculous meanes brought to light) to be taken vp, and put in a rich
shrine adorned with gold and stone, building a goodlie church of
excellent woorkmanship, and founding a monasterie in that place in
honor of the same saint, which he indowed with great possessions.
[Sidenote: The archbishops sée remoued from Canturburie to Lichfield.
He remoued the archbishops see from Canturburie vnto Lichfield,
thereby to aduance his kingdome of Mercia, as well in dignitie &
preheminence of spirituall power as temporall. He made great suit to
bring his purpose to passe in the court of Rome, and at length by
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._]
great gifts and rewards obteined it at the hands of pope Adrian the
first, then gouerning the Romane sée. And so Eadulfus then bishop of
Lichfield was adorned with the pall, and taken for archbishop,
hauing all those bishops within the limits of king Offa his dominion
suffragans vnto him; namelie, Denebertus bishop of Worcester,
Werebertus bishop of Chester, Eadulfus bishop of Dorcester, Wilnardus
bishop of Hereford, Halard bishop of Elsham, and Cedferth bishop of
Donwich. There remained onelie to the archbishop of Canturburie, the
bishops of London, Winchester, Rochester, and Shireburne.

[Sidenote: The archbishop Lambert defended his cause.]
This separation continued all the life time of the archbishop
Lambert, although he trauelled earnestlie to mainteine his
prerogatiue. Now, for that he still defended his cause, and would
not reuolt from his will, Offa depriued him of all his possessions &
reuenues that he held or inioied within anie part of his dominions.
Neither was Offa satisfied herewith, but he also tooke into his hands
the possessions of manie other churches, and fléeced the house of
[Sidenote: Offa alieth himselfe with other princes.]
Malmesburie of a part of hir reuenues. Because of these & other his
hard dooings, doubting the malice of his enimies, he procured the
friendship of forren princes. Vnto Brightricke king of the
[Sidenote: _Matt. Westm._]
Westsaxons he gaue his daughter Ethelburga in mariage. And sending
diuers ambassadours ouer vnto Charles the great, that was both emperor
& king of France, he purchased his friendship at length, although
[Sidenote: The intercourse of merchants staied.]
before there had depended a péece of displeasure betwixt them,
insomuch that the intercourse for trade of merchandize was staied for
a time. One of the ambassadours that was sent vnto the said Charles
[Sidenote: Alcwine an Englishman.]
(as is reported) was that famous clearke Albine or Alcwine, by
whose persuasion the same Charles erected two vniuersities, as in
place due and conuenient may more largelie appeare.

Finallie king Offa (as it were for a meane to appease Gods wrath,
which he doubted to be iustlie conceiued towards him for his sinnes
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
and wickednesse) granted the tenth part of all his goods vnto
churchmen, and to poore people. He also indowed the church of Hereford
with great reuenues, and (as some write) he builded the abbeie of
Bath, placing moonkes in the same, of the order of saint Benet, as
[Sidenote: 775.]
before he had doone at saint Albons. Moreouer he went vnto Rome,
about the yeare of our Lord 775, and there following the example of
Inas king of the Westsaxons, made his realme subiect by way of tribute
[Sidenote: Peter pence, or Rome Scot. _Will. Malmes._ 797.]
vnto the church of Rome, appointing that euerie house within the
limits of his dominions, should yearelie pay vnto the apostolike see
one pennie, which paiment was after named, Rome Scot, and Peter pence.
After his returne from Rome, perceiuing himselfe to draw into yeares,
[Sidenote: Offa departed this life.]
he caused his sonne Egfrid to be ordeined king in his life time:
and shortlie after departing out of this world, left the kingdome vnto
him, after he had gouerned it by the space of 39 yeares.

Amongst other the dooings of this Offa, which suerlie were great and
maruellous, this may not passe with silence, that he caused a mightie
great ditch to be cast betwixt the marshes of his countrie, and the
Welsh confines, to diuide thereby the bounds of their dominions.
[Sidenote: Offditch.]
This ditch was called Offditch euer after, and stretched from the
south side by Bristow, vnder the mountaines of Wales, running
northward ouer the riuers of Seuerne and Dée, vnto the verie mouth
of Dee, where that riuer falleth into the sea. He likewise builded a
church in Warwikeshire, whereof the towne there taketh name, and is
[Sidenote: Egfrid king of Mercia.]
called Offchurch euen to this day. Egfrid taking vpon him the
rule, began to follow the approoued good dooings of his father, and
first restored vnto the churches their ancient priuileges, which his
father sometimes had taken from them. Great hope was conceiued of his
further good procéeding, but death cut off the same, taking him out of
this life, after he had reigned the space of foure moneths, not for
his owne offenses (as was thought) but rather for that his father had
caused so much bloud to be spilt for the confirming of him in the
kingdome, which so small a time he now inioied.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Osulph king of Northumberland traitorouslie murthered, Edilwald
succeedeth him, the reward of rebellion, a great mortalitie of foules
fishes and fruits, moonkes licenced to drinke wine, great wast by
fire, Edelred king of Northumberland is driuen out of his countrie by
two dukes of the same, Ethelbert king of the Eastangles commended for
his vertues, Alfred the daughter of king Mercia is affianced to him,
tokens of missehaps towards him, his destruction intended by queene
Quendred, hir platforme of the practise to kill him, Offa inuadeth
Ethelberts kingdome, Alfred his betrothed wife taketh his death
greuouslie, and becommeth a nun, the decaie of the kingdome of
Eastangles, succession in the regiment of the Westsaxons, the end of
the gouernement of the Eastsaxons, prince Algar is smitten blind for
seeking to rauish virgine Friswide, and at hir praiers restored to his


[Sidenote: EADBERT king of Northumberland. 758.]
When Eadbert or Egbert K. of Northumberland was become a moonke,
his sonne Osulphus succéeded him: but after he had reigned onelie
one yeare, he was traitorouslie murthered by his owne seruants at
Mikilwongton, on the 9 kalends of August. Then succéeded one Moll,
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _Hen. Hunt._ Edilwold king of Northumberland.
_Simon Dun._ _Henr. Hunt._]
otherwise called Edilwold or Edilwald, but not immediatlie, for he
began not his reigne till the nones of August in the yeare following,
which was after the birth of our sauiour 759.

This man prooued right valiant in gouernement of his subiects. He
slue in battell an earle of his countrie named Oswin, who arrearing
warre against him, fought with him in a pitcht field at Eadwines
Cliue, and receiued the worthie reward of rebellion.

[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ 764.]
This chanced in the third yeare of his reigne, and shortlie after,
that is to say, in the yeare of our Lord 764, there fell such a
maruellous great snow, and therwith so extreame a frost, as the like
had not béene heard of, continuing from the beginning of the winter,
almost till the middest of the spring, with the rigour whereof, trees
and fruits withered awaie, and lost their liuelie shape and growth:
and not onelie feathered foules, but also beasts on the land, & fishes
in the sea died in great numbers. The same yeare died Ceolwulf then
king of Northumberland, vnto whome Beda did dedicate his booke of
[Sidenote: Moonks licenced to drinke wine.]
histories of the English nation. After that he was become a moonke
in the monasterie of Lindesferne, the moonks of that house had licence
to drinke wine, or ale, whereas before they might not drinke anie
other thing than milke, or water, by the ancient rule prescribed them
of the bishop Aidan first founder of the place. The same yeare sundrie
cities, townes, and monasteries were defaced and sore wasted with fier
chancing on the sudden, as Stretehu, Giwento, Anwicke, London, Yorke,
Doncaster, &c.

After that Moll had reigned 6 yeares, he resigned his kingdome. But
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ Altred began his reigne in the yeare 765 as
_Sim. Dun._ saith.]
other write that he reigned 11 yeares, and was in the end slaine by
treason of his successor Altred. This Altred reigned ten years ouer
the Northumbers, and was then expelled out of his kingdome by his
[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._ _Matth. West._ Ethelbert.]
owne subiects. Then was Ethelbert, named also Edelred, the sonne of
the foresaid Moll, made king of Northumberland, and in the fift yeare
of his reigne, he was driuen out of his kingdome by two dukes of his
countrie named Edelbald and Herebert, who mouing warre against him,
had slaine first Aldulfe the sonne of Bosa the generall of his armie
at Kingescliffe; and after Kinewulfe and Egga, other two of his dukes,
at Helatherne in a sore foughten field: so that Ethelbert despairing
of all recouerie, was constrained to get him out of the countrie.
And thus was the kingdome of Northumberland brought into a miserable
state, by the ambitious working of the princes and nobles of the same.

[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._ _Iohn Capgraue_. _Matth. West._ and others.
Ethelbert king of Eastangles.]
After that Ethelbert king of Eastangles was dead, his sonne
Ethelbert succéeded him, a prince of great towardnesse, and so
vertuouslie brought vp by his fathers circumspect care and diligence,
that he vtterlie abhorred vice, and delighted onelie in vertue and
commendable exercises, for the better atteining to knowledge and
vnderstanding of good sciences. There remaine manie sundrie saiengs &
dooings of him, manifestlie bearing witnesse that there could not
[Sidenote: The saieng of king Ethelbert.]
be a man more honorable, thankefull, courteous or gentle. Amongest
other he had this saieng oftentimes in his mouth, that the greater
that men were, the more humble they ought to beare themselues: for the
Lord putteth proud and mightie men from their seates, and exalteth the
humble and méeke.

Moreouer he did not onelie shew himselfe wise in words, but desired
also to excell in staiednesse of maners, and continencie of life.
Whereby he wan to him the hearts of his people, who perceiuing that he
was nothing delighted in the companie of women, and therefore minded
not mariage, they of a singular loue and fauour towards him, required
that he should in anie wise yet take a wife, that he might haue issue
to succéed him. At length the matter being referred to his councell,
he was persuaded to follow their aduises. And so Alfreda the daughter
of Offa king of Mercia was affianced to him: so that he himselfe
appointed (as meanes to procure more fauour at his father in lawes
hands) to go fetch the bride from hir fathers house.

Manie strange things that happened to him in taking vpon him this
[Sidenote: Tokens of mishap to follow.]
iournie, put him in great doubt of that which should follow. He was
no sooner mounted on his horsse, but that (as séemed to him) the earth
shooke vnder him: againe, as he was in his iournie, about the mid-time
of the day, such a darke mist compassed him on ech side, that he could
not sée nor discerne for a certeine time anie thing about him at all:
lastlie, as he laie one night asléepe, he thought he saw in a dreame
the roofe of his owne palace fall downe to the ground. But though
with these things he was brought into great feare, yet he kept on his
[Sidenote: The innocent mistrustfull of no euill.]
iournie, as he that mistrusted no deceit, measuring other mens
maners by his owne. King Offa right honourablie receiued him: but his
wife named Quendred, a wise woman, but therewith wicked, conceiued a
malicious deuise in hir hart, & streightwaies went about to persuade
hir husband to put it in execution, which was to murther king
Ethelbert, and after to take into his hands his kingdome.

Offa at the first was offended with his wife for this motion, but
[Sidenote: _Iohn Capgr._ Winnebert.]
in the end, through the importunate request of the woman, he
consented to hir mind. The order of the murther was committed vnto one
Winnebert, that had serued both the said Ethelbert & his father
[Sidenote: _Sim. Dun._ saith 771.]
before time, the which feining as though he had béene sent from Offa
[Sidenote: Offa conquereth Eastangles.]
to will Ethelbert to come vnto him in the night season, slue
him that once mistrusted not anie such treason. Offa hauing thus
dispatched Ethelbert, inuaded his kingdome, and conquered it.

But when the bride Alfreda vnderstood the death of hir liked make and
bridegrome, abhorring the fact, she curssed father and mother, and
as it were inspired with the spirit of prophesie, pronounced that
woorthie punishment would shortlie fall on hir wicked mother for
hir heinous crime committed in persuading so detestable a déed: and
[Sidenote: Alfreda a nun. _Beda_. _Matth. West._]
according to hir woords it came to passe, for hir mother died
miserablie within three moneths after. The maid Alfreda refusing the
world, professed hirselfe a nun at Crowland, the which place began
to wax famous about the yéere of our Lord 695, by the meanes of one
Gutlake, a man esteemed of great vertue and holinesse, which chose to
himselfe an habitation there, and departing this life about the yéere
of our Lord 714, was buried in that place, where afterwards an abbeie
of moonks was builded of saint Benets order. The bodie of K. Ethelbert
at length was buried at Hereford, though first it was committed to
buriall in a vile place, néere to the banke of a riuer called Lug.

The kingdome of Eastangles from thencefoorth was brought so into
decaie, that it remained subiect one while vnto them of Mercia, an
other while vnto the Westsaxons, and somewhile vnto them of Kent, till
that Edmund surnamed the martyr got the gouernment thereof (as after
shall appéere.) After that Selred king of the Eastsaxons had gouerned
[Sidenote: _H. Hunt._]
the tearme of 38 yéeres, he was slaine, but in what maner, writers
haue not expressed. After him succéeded one Swithed or Swithred, the
11 and last in number that particularlie gouerned those people. He was
finallie expelled by Egbert K. of Westsaxons, the same yéere that the
said Egbert ouercame the Kentishmen (as after shall be shewed) and so
the kings of that kingdome of the Eastsaxons ceassed and tooke end.

[Sidenote: Friswide a virgine.]
¶ About this time, there was a maid in Oxford named Friswide,
daughter to a certeine duke or noble man called Didanus, with whome
one Algar a prince in those parties fell in loue, and would haue
rauished hir, but God the reuenger of sinnes was at hand (as the
storie saith.) For when Algar followed the maid that fled before him,
she getting into the towne, the gate was shut against him, and his
sight also was suddenlie taken from him. But the maid by hir praiers
pacified Gods wrath towards him, so that his sight was againe restored
to him. But whether this be a fable or a true tale, héereof grew the
report, that the kings of this realme long times after were afraid to
enter into the citie of Oxford. So easilie is the mind of man turned
to superstition (as saith Polydor.)

       *       *       *       *       *

_Kinewulfe king of Westsaxons, his conquest ouer the Britains, his
securitie and negligence, he is slaine by conspirators, inquisition
for Kineard the principall procurer of that mischiefe, he is slaine in
fight; legats from the pope to the kings and archbishops of this land
about reformation in the church, a councell holden at Mercia;
iudge Bearne burnt to death for crueltie, Alfwold reigneth ouer
Northumberland, his owne subiects murther him; a booke of articles
sent by Charles king of France into Britaine quite contrarie to the
christian faith, Albinus writeth against it; great waste by tempests
of wind and rage of fire._


[Sidenote: KINEWULF. _Hen. Hunt._ 756.]
After that the Westsaxons had depriued their vnprofitable king
Sigibert, they aduanced Kinewulfe, or Cinevulfus, the which began his
reigne about the yéere of our Lord 756, which was in the 16 yéere of
the emperor Constantinus, surnamed Copronimos, in the 6 yéere of
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun. saith 755_.]
the reigne of Pipin king of France, and about the 22 yéere of Ethfine
king of Scots. This Kinewulfe prooued a right woorthie and valiant
prince, and was descended of the right line of Cerdicus. He obteined
[Sidenote: The Britains vanquished.]
great victories against the Britains or Welshmen, but at Bensington
or Benton he lost a battell against Offa king of Mercia, in the 24
yéere of his reigne: and from that time forward tasting manie
displeasures, at length through his owne follie came vnto a shamefull
end. For whereas he had reigned a long time neither slouthfullie nor
presumptuouslie, yet now as it were aduanced with the glorie of things
passed, he either thought that nothing could go against him, or else
doubted the suertie of their state whom he should leaue behind him,
and therefore he confined one Kineard the brother of Sigibert, whose
fame he perceiued to increase more than he would haue wished.

This Kineard dissembling the matter, as he that could giue place to
time, got him out of the countrie, and after by a secret conspiracie
assembled togither a knot of vngratious companie, and returning
priuilie into the countrie againe, watched his time, till he espied
that the king with a small number of his seruants was come vnto the
house of a noble woman, whome he kept a paramour at Merton, wherevpon
the said Kineard vpon the sudden beset the house round about. The king
perceiuing himselfe thus besieged of his enimies, at the first caused
the doores to be shut, supposing either by curteous woords to appease
his enimies, or with his princelie authoritie to put them in feare.

But when he saw that by neither meane he could doo good, in a great
chafe he brake foorth of the house vpon Kineard, and went verie néere
to haue killed him: but being compassed about with multitude of
enimies, whilest he stood at defense, thinking it a dishonour for
[Sidenote: Kinewulfe slaine by conspirators.]
him to flée, he was beaten downe and slaine, togither with those few
of his seruants which he had there with him, who chose rather to die
in séeking reuenge of their maisters death than by cowardise to yéeld
themselues into the murtherers hands. There escaped none except one
Welshman or Britaine, an hostage, who was neuerthelesse sore wounded
and hurt.

The brute of such an heinous act was streightwaies blowne ouer all,
and brought with speed to the eares of the noble men and peeres of the
realme, which were not farre off the place where this slaughter had
béene committed. Amongst other, one Osrike, for his age and wisedome
accounted of most authoritie, exhorted the residue that in no wise
they should suffer the death of their souereigne lord to passe
vnpunished vnto their perpetuall shame and reproofe. Wherevpon in all
hast they ran to the place where they knew to find Kineard, who at the
first began to please his cause, to make large promises, to pretend
coosenage, and so foorth: but when he perceiued all that he could
say or doo might not preuaile, he incouraged his companie to shew
themselues valiant, and to resist their enimies to the vttermost of
their powers. Heerevpon followed a doubtfull fight, the one part
striuing to saue their liues, and the other to atteine honour, and
punish the slaughter of their souereigne lord. At length the victorie
rested on the side where the right was, so that the wicked murtherer
after he had fought a while, at length was slaine, togither with
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _H. Hunt_]
fourescore and eight of his mates. The kings bodie was buried at
Winchester, & the murtherers at Repingdon. Such was the end of king
Kinewulfe, after he had reigned the tearme of 31 yéeres.

[Sidenote: _Eccle. hist. Magd._ 786]
In the yeere of our Lord 786, pope Adrian sent two legats into
England, Gregorie, or (as some copies haue) George bishop of Ostia,
and Theophylactus bishop of Tuderto, with letters commendatorie vnto
Offa king of Mercia, Alfwold king of Northumberland, Ieanbright or
Lambert archbishop of Canturburie, and Eaubald archbishop of Yorke.
[Sidenote: _H. Hunt._ Legats from the pope.]
These legats were gladlie receiued, not onlie by the foresaid
kings and archbishops, but also of all other the high estates, aswell
spirituall as temporall of the land, & namelie of Kinewulfe king of
the Westsaxons, which repaired vnto king Offa to take counsell with
him for reformation of such articles as were conteined in the popes

[Sidenote: Twentie articles which the legats had to propone.]
There were twentie seuerall articles which they had to propone on
the popes behalfe, as touching the receiuing of the faith or articles
established by the Nicene councell, and obeieng of the other generall
councels, with instructions concerning baptisme and kéeping of synods
yéerelie, for the examination of priests and ministers, and reforming
of naughtie liuers. Moreouer touching discretion to be vsed in
admitting of gouernors in monasteries, and curats or priests to the
ministerie in churches: and further for the behauior of priests in
wearing their apparell, namelie that they should not presume to come
to the altar bare legged, lest their dishonestie might be discouered.
And that in no wise the chalice or paten were made of the horne of an
oxe, bicause the same is bloudie of nature: nor the host of a crust,
but of pure bread. Also whereas bishops vsed to sit in councels to
iudge in secular causes, they were now forbidden so to doo.

Manie other things were as meanes of reformation articled, both for
spirituall causes, and also concerning ciuill ordinances, as disabling
children to be heirs to the parents, which by them were not begot
[Sidenote: Nuns concubines.]
in lawfull matrimonie but on concubines, whether they were nunnes
or secular women. Also of paiment of tithes, performing of vowes,
auoiding of vndecent apparell, and abolishing of all maner of
heathenish vsages and customes that sounded contrarie to the order
[Sidenote: Curtailing of horsses.]
of christanitie, as curtailing of horsses, and eating of horsses
flesh. These things with manie other expressed in 20 principall
articles (as we haue said) were first concluded to be receiued by the
church of the Northumbers in a councell holden there, and subscribed
by Alfwold king of the Northumbers, by Delberike bishop of Hexham, by
Eubald archbishop of Yorke, Higwald bishop of Lindisferne, Edelbert
bishop of Whiterne, Aldulfe bishop of Mieth, Ethelwine also another
bishop by his deputies, with a number of other of the clergie; and
lords also of the temporaltie, as duke Alrike, duke Segwulfe, abbat
Alebericke, and abbat Erhard. After this confirmation had of the
Northumbers, there was also a councell holden in Mercia at Cealtide,
in the which these persons subscribed, Iambert or Lambert archbishop
of Canturburie, Offa king of Mercia, Hughbright bishop of Lichfield,
Edeulfe bishop of Faron, with Vnwone bishop of Ligor, and nine other
bishops, besides abbats; and thrée dukes, as Brorda, Farwald, and
Bercoald, with earle Othbald.

But now to returne backe to speake of other dooings, as in other parts
of this land they fell out. About the yéere of our Lord 764, the sée
of Canturburie being void, one Iambert or Lambert was elected
[Sidenote: 764.]
archbishop there, and in the yéere 766, the archbishop of Yorke Egbert
[Sidenote: _Sim. Dun._ saith 780]
departed this life, in whose place one Adelbert succéeded. About
the 25 yéere of Kenwulf king of Westsaxons, the Northumbers hauing to
their capteine two noble men, Osbald and Ethelherard, burned one
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
of their iudges named Bearne, bicause he was more cruell in iudgement
(as they tooke the matter) than reason required. In which vengeance
executed vpon the cruell iudge (if he were so seuere as this attempt
of the two noble men dooth offer the readers to suspect) all such of
his liuerie & calling are taught lenitie & mildnes, wherwith they
should leuen the rigor of the lawe. For

  [Sidenote: _Ouid. lib. 2. de art. am._]

  ------capit indulgentia mentes,
  Asperitas odium sæuáque bella mouet.
  Odimus accipitrem, quia viuit semper in armis,
  Er pauidum solitos in pecus ire lupos.
  At caret insidijs hominum, quia mitis hirundo est,
  Quásque colat turres Chaonîs ales habet.

At the same time, one Aswald or Alfewald reigned ouer the Northumbers,
being admitted K. after that Ethelbert was expelled, and when the
[Sidenote: He began his reigne _ann._ 779, as saith _Simon Dun._ and
reigned but ten yéeres.]
same Alfwald had reigned 10, or (as some say) 11 yéeres, he was
traitorouslie and without all guilt made away; the chéefe conspirator
was named Siga. The same Alfwald was a iust prince, and woorthilie
gouerned the Northumbers to his high praise and commendation. He was
murthered by his owne people (as before ye haue heard) the 23 of
September, in the yéere of our Lord 788, and was buried at Hexham.

[Sidenote: 788. _Matth. West._ _Simon Dun._ 792.]
In the yéere 792, Charles king of France sent a booke into
Britaine, which was sent vnto him from Constantinople, conteining
certeine articles agreed vpon in a synod (wherein were present aboue
the number of thrée hundred bishops) quite contrarie and disagréeing
from the true faith, namelie in this, that images ought to be
worshipped, which the church of God vtterlie abhorreth. Against this
booke Albinus that famous clearke wrote a treatise confirmed with
places taken out of holie scripture, which treatise, with the booke in
[Sidenote: _Sim. Dunel._ 800.]
name of all the bishops and princes of Britaine, he presented vnto
the king of France. ¶ In the yéere 800, on Christmasse éeuen chanced a
maruellous tempest of wind, which ouerthrew whole cities and townes in
diuerse places, and trees in great number, beside other harmes which
it did, as by death of cattell, &c. In the yeere following a great
part of London was consumed by fire.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Britricus K. of the Westsaxons, his inclination, Egbert being of the
bloud roiall is banished the land, & why; crosses of bloudie colour
and drops of bloud fell from heauen, what they did prognosticate; the
first Danes that arriued on the English coasts, and the cause of their
comming; firie dragons flieng in the aire foretokens of famine
and warre; Britricus is poisoned of his wife Ethelburga, hir ill
qualities; why the kings of the Westsaxons decreed that their wiues
should not be called queenes, the miserable end of Ethelburga; Kenulfe
king of Mercia, his vertues, he restoreth the archbishops see to
Canturburie which was translated to Lichfield, he inuadeth Kent,
taketh the king prisoner in the field, and bountifullie setteth him at
libertie, the great ioy of the people therevpon; his rare liberalitie
to churchmen, his death and buriall._


[Sidenote: BRITRICUS. _Hen. Hunt._ _Matt. West._ saith 787.
_Simon Dun._ saith 786.]
After Kenwulfe, one Britricus or Brightrike was ordeined king of
Westsaxons, and began his reigne in the yéere of our Lord 787, which
was about the 8 yéere of the gouernment of the empresse Eirene with
hir son Constantinus, and about the second yeere of the reigne of
Achaius K. of Scots. This Brightrike was descended of the line of
Cerdicus the first king of Westsaxons, the 16 in number from him. He
was a man of nature quiet & temperate, more desirous of peace than of
warre, and therefore he stood in doubt of the noble valiancie of one
Egbert, which after succéeded him in the kingdome. The linage of
Cerdicus was in that season so confounded and mingled, that euerie
one as he grew in greatest power, stroue to be king and supreame
gouernour. But speciallie Egbertus was knowne to be one that coueted
that place, as he that was of the bloud roiall, and a man of great
[Sidenote: Egbert banished.]
power and lustie courage. King Brightrike therefore to liue in more
safetie, banished him the land, and appointed him to go into France.
Egbert vnderstanding certeinlie that this his departure into a
forreine countrie should aduance him in time, obeied the kings

[Sidenote: A strange woonder.]
About the third yéere of Brightrikes reigne, there fell vpon mens
garments, as they walked abroad, crosses of bloudie colour, and bloud
fell from heauen as drops of raine. Some tooke this woonder for
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ _Wil. Malm._ _Hen. Hunt._
a signification of the persecution that followed by the Danes: for
shortlie after, in the yeere insuing, there arriued thrée Danish ships
vpon the English coasts, against whome the lieutenant of the parties
adjoining made foorth, to apprehend those that were come on land,
howbeit aduenturing himselfe ouer rashlie amongst them, he was slaine:
but afterwards when the Danes perceiued that the people of the
countries about began to assemble, and were comming against them, they
fled to their ships, and left their prey and spoile behind them for
that time. These were the first Danes that arriued here in this land,
being onelie sent (as was perceiued after) to view the countrie and
coasts of the same, to vnderstand how with a greater power they might
be able to inuade it, as shortlie after they did, and warred so with
the Englishmen, that they got a great part of the land, and held it in
their owne possession. In the tenth yéere of king Brightrikes reigne,
there were séene in the aire firie dragons flieng, which betokened
(as was thought) two grieuous plagues that followed. First a great
[Sidenote: Famin & war signified.]
dearth and famine: and secondlie a cruell war of the Danes, which
shortlie followed, as ye shall heare.

Finallie, after that Brightrike had reigned the space of 16 yéeres, he
[Sidenote: _Ran. Cest. lib. 5. cap. 25_. Brightrike departed this life.]
departed this life, and was buried at Warham. Some write that he
was poisoned by his wife Ethelburga daughter vnto Offa king of Mercia
(as before ye haue heard) and he maried hir in the fourth yere of
his reigne. She is noted by writers to haue bin a verie euill woman,
proud, and high-minded as Lucifer, and therewith disdainful. She bare
[Sidenote: Ethelburga hir conditions and wicked nature.]
hir the more statelie, by reason of hir fathers great fame and
magnificence: whome she hated she would accuse to hir husband, and so
put them in danger of their liues. And if she might not so wreake hir
rancour, she would not sticke to poison them.

It happened one day, as she meant to haue poisoned a yoong gentleman,
against whome she had a quarell, the king chanced to tast of that cup,
and died thereof (as before ye haue heard.) Hir purpose indeed was not
to haue poisoned the king, but onelie the yoong gentleman, the which
drinking after the king, died also, the poison was so strong and
[Sidenote: A decrée of the kings of the Westsaxons against their
vehement. For hir heinous crime it is said that the kings of the
Westsaxons would not suffer their wiues to be called quéenes, nor
permit them to sit with them in open places (where their maiesties
should bée shewed) manie yéeres after. Ethelburga fearing punishment,
fled into France with great riches and treasure, & was well cherished
[Sidenote: The end of Ethelburga. _Simon Dun._]
in the court of king Charles at the first, but after she was thrust
into an abbeie, and demeaned hirselfe so lewdlie there, in keeping
companie with one of hir owne countriemen, that she was banished the
house, and after died in great miserie.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ Kenulfe.]
Egbert king of Mercia departing this life, after he had reigned
foure moneths, ordeined his coosine Kenulfe to succeed in his place,
which Kenulfe was come of the line of Penda king of Mercia, as
rightlie descended from his brother Kenwalke. This Kenulfe for his
noble courage, wisdome, and vpright dealing, was woorthie to be
compared with the best princes that haue reigned. His vertues passed
his fame: nothing he did that enuie could with iust cause reprooue. At
home he shewed himselfe godlie and religious, in warre he became
[Sidenote: The archbishops sée restored to Canturburie.]
victorious, he restored the archbishops sée againe to Canturburie,
wherein his humblenes was to be praised, that made no account of
worldlie honour in his prouince, so that the order of the ancient
canons might be obserued. He had wars left him as it were by
succession from his predecessour Offa against them of Kent, and
thervpon entring that countrie with a mightie armie, wasted and
[Sidenote: The king of Kent taken prisoner.]
spoiled the same, and encountering in battell with king Edbert or
Ethelbert, otherwise called Prenne, ouerthrew his armie, and tooke him
prisoner in the field, but afterwards he released him to his
great praise and commendation. For whereas he builded a church at
Winchcombe, vpon the day of the dedication thereof, he led the Kentish
king as then his prisoner, vp to the high altar, and there set him at
libertie, declaring thereby a great proofe of his good nature.

There were present at that sight, Cuthred whom he had made king of
Kent in place of Ethelbert, or Edbert, with 13 bishops, and 10 dukes.
The noise that was made of the people in reioising at the kings
bountious liberalitie was maruellous. For not onelie he thus
[Sidenote: Kenulfs liberalitie towards churchmen which was not
forgotten by them in their histories.]
restored the Kentish king to libertie, but also bestowed great rewards
vpon all the prelates and noble men that were come to the feast,
euerie priest had a peece of gold, and euerie moonke a shilling. Also
he dealt and gaue away great gifts amongst the people, and founded
in that place an abbeie, indowing the same with great possessions.
Finallie, after he had reigned 24 yéeres, he departed this life, and
appointed his buriall to be in the same abbeie of Winchcombe, leauing
behind him a sonne named Kenelme, who succeeded his father in the
kingdome, but was soone murthered by his vnnaturall sister Quendred,
the 17 of Iulie, as hereafter shall be shewed.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Osrike king of Northumberland leaueth the kingdome to Edelbert
reuoked out of exile, king Alfwalds sons miserablie slaine, Osred is
put to death, Ethelbert putteth away his wife and marieth another, his
people rise against him therefore and kill him, Oswald succeeding him
is driuen out of the land; Ardulfe king of Northumberland, duke Wade
raiseth warre against him and is discomfited; duke Aldred is slaine;
a sore battell fought in Northumberland, the English men aflict one
another with ciuill warres; king Ardulfe deposed from his estate;
the regiment of the Northumbers refused as dangerous and deadlie by
destinie, what befell them in lieu of their disloialtie; the Danes
inuade their land and are vanquished; the roiall race of the Kentish
kings decaieth, the state of that kingdome; the primasie restored to
the see of Canturburie, Egbert (after the death of Britricus) is sent
for to vndertake the gouernement of the Westsaxons, his linage._


[Sidenote: OSRED. 788.]
When Aswald king of Northumberland was made away, his brother
Osred the sonne of Alred tooke vpon him the rule of that kingdom anno
788, and within one yeere was expelled, and left the kingdome to
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ _Matth. West._ _Hen. Hunt._
_Simon Dun._]
Ethelbert or Edelred as then reuoked out of exile, in which he had
remained for the space of 12 yéeres, and now being restored, he
continued in gouernement of the Northumbers 4 yéeres, or (as some say)
[Sidenote: Duke Ardulf taken and wounded.]
7 yéeres; in the second yéere whereof duke Eardulfe was taken and
led to Ripon, and there without the gate of the monasterie wounded
(as was thought) to death by the said king, but the moonks taking his
bodie, and laieng it in a tent without the church, after midnight he
was found aliue in the church.

Moreouer, about the same time the sonnes of king Alfwald were by
force drawne out of the citie of Yorke, but first by a wile they were
trained out of the head church where they had taken sanctuarie, and so
at length miserablie slaine by king Ethelbert in Wonwaldremere,
one of them was named Alfus, & the other Alfwin. In the yéere of our
[Sidenote: 792]
Lord 792, Osred vpon trust of the others and promises of diuerse noble
men, secretly returned into Northumberland, but his owne souldiers
forsooke him, and so was he taken, and by king Ethelberts commandment
put to death at Cunbridge on the 14 day of September.

The same yéere king Ethelbert maried the ladie Alfled the daughter of
Offa king of Mercia, forsaking his former wife which he had, & hauing
no iust cause of diuorce giuen on hir part, wherby his people tooke
such displeasure against him, that finallie after he had reigned now
this second time 4 yéeres, or (as other say) seuen yéeres, he could
not auoid the destinie of his predecessors, but was miserablie killed
by his owne subiects at Cobre, the 18 of Aprill. After whome, one
Oswald a noble man was ordeined king, and within 27 or 28 daies after
[Sidenote: Holie Iland.]
was expelled, and constreined to flie first into the Ile of
Lindesferne, and from thence vnto the king of the Picts.

[Sidenote: Ardulfe.]
Then Ardulfe that was a duke and sonne to one Arnulfe was reuoked
out of exile, made king, & consecrated also at Yorke by the archbishop
Cumhald, and thrée other bishops, the 25 of June, in the yéere
[Sidenote: 796.]
796. About two yeeres after, to wit, in the yéere 798 one duke
Wade, and other conspirators which had beene also partakers in the
[Sidenote: Walalege.]
murthering of king Ethelbert, raised warre against king Ardulfe,
and fought a battell with him at Walleg, but king Ardulfe got the
vpper hand, and chased Wade and other his enimies out of the
[Sidenote: 799.]
field. In the yéere 799, duke Aldred that had murthered Ethelbert or
Athelred king of Northumberland, was slaine by another duke called
Chorthmond in reuenge of the death of his maister the said Ethelbert.
Shortlie after, about the same time that Brightrike king of
Westsaxons departed this life, there was a sore battell foughten
in Northumberland at Wellehare, in the which Alricke the sonne of
Herbert, and manie other with him were slaine: but to rehearse all the
battels with their successes and issues, it should be too tedious and
irkesome to the readers, for the English people being naturallie hard
[Sidenote: The English men afflicted each other with ciuill warre.]
and high-minded, continuallie scourged each other with intestine
warres. About six or seuen yéeres after this battell, king Ardulfe was
expelled out of the state.

¶ Thus ye may consider in what plight things stood in Northumberland,
by the often seditions, tumults and changings of gouernors, so that
there be which haue written, how after the death of king Ethelbert,
otherwise called Edelred, diuers bishops and other of the chiefest
nobles of the countrie disdaining such traitorous prince-killings,
ciuill seditions, and iniurious dealings, as it were put in dailie
practise amongst the Northumbers, departed out of their natiue borders
into voluntarie exile, and that from thencefoorth there was not anie
of the nobilitie that durst take vpon him the kinglie gouernement
amongst them, fearing the fatall prerogatiue thereof, as if it had
béene Scians horsse, whose rider came euer to some euill end. But
yet by that which is héeretofore shewed out of Simon Dunelm, it is
euident, that there reigned kings ouer the Northumbers, but in what
authoritie and power to command, it may be doubted.

Howbeit this is certeine, that the sundrie murtherings and banishments
of their kings and dukes giue vs greatlie to gesse, that there was but
sorie obedience vsed in the countrie, whereby for no small space of
time that kingdome remained without an head gouernor, being set open
to the prey and iniurie of them that were borderers vnto it, and
likewise vnto strangers. For the Danes, which in those daies were
great rouers, had landed before in the north parts, & spoiled the
[Sidenote: This chanced in the yéere of our Lord 700,
as _Simon Dun._ saith.]
abbeie of Lindesferne otherwise called holie Iland, and perceiuing
the fruitfulnesse of the countrie, and easinesse for their people to
inuade it (bicause that through their priuate quarelling there was
little publike resistance to be looked for) at their comming home,
[Sidenote: The Danes inuade Northumberland.]
entised their countriemen to make voiages into England, and so landing
in Northumberland did much hurt, and obtained a great part of the
countrie in manner without resistance, bicause there was no ruler
there able to raise anie power of men by publike authoritie to
incounter with the common enimies, whereby the countrie was brought
into great miserie, partlie with war of the Danes, and ciuill
dissention amongest the nobles and people themselues, no man being of
authoritie (I say) able to reforme such misorders. Yet we find
[Sidenote: The Danes vanquished. This was in anno 794
as _Simon Dun._ saith.]
that the nobles and capteines of the countrie assembling togither
at one time against the Danes that were landed about Tinmouth,
constreined them by sharpe fight to flée backe to their ships, and
tooke certeine of them in the field, whose heads they stroke off there
vpon the shore. The other that got to their ships, suffered great
losse of men, and likewise of their vessels by tempest.

¶ Here then we are taught that the safest way to mainteine a
monarchie, is when all degrées liue in loialtie. And that it is
necessarie there should be one supereminent, vnto whome all the
residue should stoope: this fraile bodie of ours may giue vs
sufficient instruction. For reason ruleth in the mind as souereigne,
and hath subiect vnto it all the affections and inward motions, yea
the naturall actions are directed by hir gouernement: whereto if the
will be obedient there cannot créepe in anie outrage or disorder. Such
should be the sole regiment of a king in his kingdome; otherwise he
may be called "Rex á regendo, as Mons a mouendo." For there is not a
greater enimie to that estate, than to admit participants in roialtie,
which as it is a readie way to cause a subuersion of a monarchie; so
it is the shortest cut ouer to a disordered anarchie. But to procéed
in the historie.

After that Alrike (the last of king Witchreds sonnes, which reigned in
Kent successiuelie after their father) was dead, the noble ofspring of
the kings there so decaied, and began to vade awaie, that euerie one
which either by flattering had got rithes togither, or by seditious
partaking was had in estimation, sought to haue the gouernement, and
to vsurp the title of king, abusing by vnworthie means the honor and
dignitie of so high an office. Amongest others, one Edbert or
[Sidenote: Edelbert.]
Edelbert, surnamed also Prenne, gouerned the Kentishmen for the space
of two yeares, and was in the end vanquished by them of Mercia, and
taken prisoner, as before is said: so that for a time he liued in
captiuitie; and although afterwards he was set at libertie, yet was he
not receiued againe to the kingdome, so that it is vncerteine what end
he made. Cuthred that was appointed by Kinevulfe the king of Mercia,
to reigne in place of the same Edbert or Edelbert, continued in
the gouernement eight yéeres as king, rather by name than by act,
inheriting his predecessors euill hap and calamitie, through factions
and ciuill discord.

[Sidenote: Lambert.]
After that Iambrith or Lambert the archbishop of Canturburie was
departed this life, one Edelred was ordeined in his place, vnto whome
the primasie was restored, which in his predecessors time was taken
awaie by Offa king of Mercia, as before is recited. Also after the
death of Eubald archbishop of Yorke, another of the same name called
Eubald the second was admitted to succeed in that sée. After that
Brightrike the king of Westsaxons was departed this life, messengers
were sent with all spéed into France, to giue knowledge thereof
vnto Egbert, which as before is shewed, was constreined by the said
Brightrike to depart the countrie. At the first, he withdrew vnto Offa
king of Mercia, with whome he remained for a time, till at length
(through suit made by Brightrike) he perceiued he might not longer
continue there without danger to be deliuered into his enimies hands;
and so, Offa winking at the matter, he departed out of his countrie,
and got him ouer into France. But being now aduertised of Brightriks
death, and required by earnest letters sent from his friends to come
and receiue the gouernement of the kingdome, he returned with all
[Sidenote: Egbert receiued a king of Westsaxons His linage.]
conuenient spéed into his countrie, and was receiued immediatlie
for king, by the generall consent of the Westsaxons, as well in
respect of the good hope which they had conceiued of his woorthie
qualities and aptnesse to haue gouernement, as of his roiall linage,
being lineallie descended from Inigils the brother of king Inas, as
sonne to Alkemound, that was the sonne of one Eaffa, which Eaffa was
sonne to Ope the sonne of the foresaid Inigils.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Egbert reigneth ouer the Westsaxons, his practise or exercise in the
time of his exile, his martiall exploits against the Cornishmen and
Welshmen, Bernulfe king of Mercia taketh indignation at Egbert for the
inlarging of his roiall authoritie, they fight a sore battell, Egbert
ouercommeth, great ods betweene their souldiers, bishop Alstan a
warriour; Kent, Essex, Southerie, Sussex, and Eastangles subiect to
Egbert; he killeth Bernulfe K. of Mercia, and conquereth the whole
kingdome, Whitlafe the king thereof becommeth his tributarie, the
Northumbers submit themselues to Egbert, he conquereth Northwales and
the citie of Chester, he is crowned supreme gouernour of the whole
land, when this Ile was called England, the Danes inuade the land,
they discomfit Egberts host, the Welshmen ioine with the Danes against
Egbert, they are both vanquished, Egbert dieth._


[Sidenote: EGBERT. 802 as _Simon Dunel._
and _M.W._ hath noted but 801.]
This Egbert began his reigne in the yeare of our Lord 800, which
was the 4 yeare almost ended, after that the emperour Eirine began the
second time to rule the empire, and in the 24 yeare of the reigne of
Charles the great king of France, which also was in the same yeare
after he was made emperour of the west, and about the second yeare
of Conwall king of Scots. Whilest this Egbert remained in exile, he
turned his aduersaries into an occasion of his valiancie, as it had
béene a grindstone to grind awaie and remoue the rust of sluggish
slouthfulnes, in so much that hawnting the wars in France, in seruice
of Charles the great, he atteined to great knowledge and experience,
both in matters appertaining to the wars, and likewise to the well
ordering of the common wealth in time of peace. The first wars that he
tooke in hand, after he had atteined to the kingdome, was against the
Cornishmen, a remnant of the old Britains, whome he shortlie ouercame
and subdued. Then he thought good to tame the vnquiet Welshmen, the
which still were readie to moue rebellion against the Englishmen,
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _Hen. Hunt._]
as they that being vanquished, would not yet seeme to be subdued,
wherefore about the 14 yeare of his reigne, he inuaded the countrie of
Wales, and went through the same from east to west, not finding anie
person that durst resist him.

King Egbert hauing ouercome his enimies of Wales and Cornewall, began
to grow in authoritie aboue all the other rulers within this land, in
somuch that euerie of them began to feare their owne estate, but
[Sidenote: Bernulf king of Mercia.]
namelie Bernulfe king of Mercia sore stomached the matter, as he that
was wise, and of a loftie courage, and yet doubted to haue to doo with
Egbert, who was knowen also to be a man both skilfull and valiant. At
length yet considering with himselfe, that if his chance should be
to speed well, so much the more should his praise be increased, he
determined to attempt the fortune of warre, and therevpon intimated
the same vnto Egbert, who supposing it should be a dishonor vnto him
[Sidenote: A battell fought at Ellendon.]
to giue place, boldlie prepared to méete Bernulfe in the field.
Herevpon they incountred togither at Ellendon, & fought a sore
battell, in the which a huge number of men were slaine, what on the
one part, and on the other but in the end the victorie remained with
Egbert, although he had not the like host for number vnto Bernulfe,
[Sidenote: Egbert won the victorie.]
but he was a politike prince, and of great experience, hauing chosen
his souldiers of nimble, leane, and hartie men; where Bernulfs
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ 826.]
souldiers (through long ease) were cowardlie persons, and
ouercharged with flesh. The battell was fought in the yeare of our
Lord 826.

King Egbert hauing got this victorie, was aduanced into such hope,
that he persuaded himselfe to be able without great adoo to ouercome
the residue of his neighbours, whose estates he saw plainlie sore
weakened and fallen into great decaie. Herevpon before all other, he
determined to assaile Edelvulfe king of Kent, whome he knew to be
a man in no estimation amongest his subiects. A competent armie
therefore being leuied, he appointed his sonne Ethelwulfe & Alstan
[Sidenote: Alstan bishop of Shireborn a warrior.]
bishop of Shireborne, with earle Walhard to haue the conduct therof,
and sent them with the same into Kent, where they wrought such
maisteries, that they chased both the king and all other that would
not submit themselues, out of the countrie, constreining them to
[Sidenote: The conquests of the Westsaxons.]
passe ouer the Thames. And herewith the Westsaxons following the
victorie, brought vnder subiection of king Egbert the countries of
Kent, Essex, Southerie, and Sussex. The Eastangles also about
[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._]
the same time receiued king Egbert for their souereigne Lord, and
comforted by his setting on against Bernulfe king of Mercia, inuaded
the confines of his kingdome, in reuenge of displeasures which he had
doone to them latelie before, by inuading their countrie, and as it
[Sidenote: Bernulf king of Mercia slaine.]
came to passe, incountring with the said Bernulfe which came against
them to defend his countrie, they slue him in the field.

Thus their minds on both parts being kindled into further wrath,
the Eastangles eftsoones in the yeare following fought with them of
Mercia, and ouercame them againe, and slue their king Ludicenus, who
succéeded Bernulfe in that kingdome, with 5 of his earles. The state
of the kingdome of Mercia being weakened, Egbert conceiued an assured
hope of good successe, & in the 27 yeare of his reigne, made an open
inuasion into the countrie, and chasing Whitlafe king of Mercia (that
succéeded Ludicenus) out of his estate, conquered the whole kingdome
of the Mercies. But yet in the yéere next following, or in the third
yeare after, he restored it againe to Whitlafe, with condition, that
he should inioy the same as tributarie to him, and acknowledge him
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
for his supreme gouernour. The same yeare that Bernulfe king of
[Sidenote: These were the Cornish men as is to be supposed.]
Mercia was slaine by the Eastangles, there was a sore battell foughten
at Gauelford, betwixt them of Deuonshire, and the Britains, in the
which manie thousands died on both parts.

King Egbert hauing conquered all the English people inhabiting on
the south side of Humber, led foorth his armie against them of
Northumberland: but the Northumbers being not onelie vexed with ciuill
sedition, but also with the often inuasion of Danes, perceiued not
[Sidenote: King Egbert inuadeth Northumberland.
The Northumbers submit themselues to king Egbert.]
how they should be able to resist the power of king Egbert: and
therefore vpon good aduisement taken in the matter, they resolued to
submit themselues, and therevpon sent ambassadors to him to offer
their submission, committing themselues wholie vnto his protection.
King Egbert gladlie receiued them, and promised to defend them from
all forren enimies. Thus the kingdome of Northumberland was brought
vnder subiection to the kings of the Westsaxons, after the state
had béen sore weakened with contention and ciuill discord that had
continued amongst the nobles of the countrie, for the space of manie
yeeres, beside the inuasion made by outward enimies, to the gréeuous
damage of the people.

After that king Egbert had finished his businesse in Northumberland,
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ Northwales and the citie of Chester conquered
by Egbert.]
he turned his power towards the countrie of Northwales, and
subdued the same, with the citie of Chester, which till those daies,
the Britains or Welshmen had kept in their possession. When king
Egbert had obteined these victories, and made such conquests as before
is mentioned, of the people héere in this land, he caused a councell
to be assembled at Winchester, and there by aduise of the high
estates, he was crowned king, as souereigne gouernour and supreame
lord of the whole land. It is also recorded, that he caused a
commission to be directed foorth into all parts of the realme, to
giue commandement, that from thence forward all the people inhabiting
within this land, should be called English men, and not Saxons, and
[Sidenote: The name of this ile when it was changed.]
likewise the land should be called England by one generall name,
though it should appéere (as before is mentioned) that it was so
called shortlie after the first time that the Angles and Saxons got
possession thereof.

Now was king Egbert setled in good quiet, and his dominions reduced
[Sidenote: The Danes.]
out of the troubles of warre, when suddenlie newes came, that the
Danes with a nauie of 35 ships, were arriued on the English coasts,
and began to make sore warre in the land. K. Egbert being thereof
aduertised, with all conuenient spéed got togither an armie, and went
foorth to giue battell to the enimies. Heerevpon incountring with
them, there was a sore foughten field betwixt them, which continued
with great slaughter on both sides, till the night came on, and then
by chance of warre the Englishmen, which before were at point to haue
[Sidenote: The Englishmen discomfited by Danes. _Simon Dun._ _H. Hunt._
_Matth. West._]
gone awaie with victorie, were vanquished and put to flight, yet
king Egbert by couert of the night escaped his enimies hands: but two
of his chiefe capteins Dudda and Osmond, with two bishops, to wit,
Herferd of Winchester, and Vigferd of Shireborne, were slaine in that
battell, which was foughten at Carrum, about the 834 of Christ, and 34
yéere of king Egberts reigne.

[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 yéere 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._]
yéeres 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 succéed him in the kingdome of
Westsaxons, and Adelstan he ordeined to haue the gouernment of Kent,
Sussex, and Essex.

¶ Héere we sée 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 yéeres, 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
héedtaking; for

  Sæpiùs incautæ nocuit victoria turbæ.

       *       *       *       *       *

_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


[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 yéeres,
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 yéers, that is to say, from
the yéere of our Lord 464, vnto the yéere 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 yéere
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 yéere
614, vnto the yeere 795, as by the table of the Heptarchie set foorth
by Alexander Neuill appéereth. After the deceasse of Kenwulfe king
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ 821]
of Mercia, his sonne Kenelme a child of the age of seuen yéeres 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 yéeres 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: _Sée 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 séemeth 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
yéere of his reigne was expelled by Bernwulfe. Bernwulfe in the third
yéere 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
réele 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 yéere of our Lord 828, and in the yéere of the
reigne of king Egbert 28, but yet héere it tooke not end, as after
shall appéere.

Ethelwulfus, otherwise called by some writers Athaulfus, began his
reigne ouer the Westsaxons in the yéere 837, which was in the 24 yéere
of the emperor Ludouicus Pius that was also K. of France, in the tenth
yéere of Theophilus the emperor of the East, & about the third yéere
of Kenneth, the second of that name king of Scots. This Ethelwulfe
minding in his youth to haue béene 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

[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 séemed more gréeuous, 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 appéere. 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 béene
recorded. He gouerned the sée of Shireborne the space of 50 yéeres, 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 yéere 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 yéere 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 yéere after
this, they entered further into the land, and about Canturburie,
Rochester, and London, did much mischiefe.

King Ethelwulfe in the fift yéere 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 yéere 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
sixtéenth 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 beléeued 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 yéere 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 héere 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 yéere 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 yéere of his reigne, king Ethelwulfe ordeined that the
tenths or tithes of all lands due to be paid to the church, should be
frée 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 yéere: he tooke with him his sonne
[Sidenote: The Saxons schoole.]
Alured, who had béene 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 béene 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._ Mancusæ.]
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 yéere 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 déed 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 séemeth to inferre, that this reuolting
of Adelstane and his son, should procéed of the ambitious desire
of Ethelbald to reigne, and likelie inough, or else this vnequall
partition should neuer haue béene 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 yéeres 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 succéed 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 yéeres 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._


[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 yéeres 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 yéeres. 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.

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 yéere
of our Lord 857, which was in the second yéere of the emperor Lewes
the second, & the 17 of Charles surnamed Caluus or the bald king of
France, and about the first yéere 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 quéene Iudith, or rather (as some write) his owne
mother, whom his father had kept as concubine. He liued not past fiue
yéeres 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 yéere, after
that Ethelbright had ruled well and peaceably the Westsaxons fiue
yeeres, and the Kentishmen ten yéeres, he ended his life, and was
buried at Shireborne, as his brother Ethelbald was before him.

[Sidenote: ETHELRED. 867.]
After Ethelbright succéeded his brother Ethelred, and began his
reigne ouer the Westsaxons and the more part of the English people, in
the yéere of our Lord 867, and in the 12 yéere of the emperour Lewes,
in the 27 yéere of the reigne of Charles Caluus king of France, and
about the 6 yéere 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 yéeres six moneths saith _Harison_. _Wil. Malm._
Ethelred fought with the Danes nine times in one yéere.]
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 béene
reported of writers) he fought with them nine times in one yéere: 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 yéere 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.
Sée _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 sée 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 agréement the kingdome was diuided betwixt them, as before is
mentioned. Finallie, he greatlie inriched the sée 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 excéeding bountifull and large in distributing the wealth he had
gréedilie gotten togither, he must néeds 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

_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


[Sidenote: BURTHRED king of Mercia.]
In the yeare following, that is to say, in the third yéere 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, Basréeg and Halden. They lodged at
Reding with their maine armie, and within thrée daies after the
[Sidenote: Edelwulfe, erle of Barkshire fought at Englefield with the
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 béene 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 agrée 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 béene 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

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 sée 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
yéelded himselfe vnto them. And because he would not renounce the
[Sidenote: King Edmund shot to death.]
christian faith, they bound him to a trée, 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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_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._


[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
succéeded 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 thrée elder brethren: for he being the
yoongest, was kept backe from the gouernement, though he were for his
wisdome and policie most highlie estéemed 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 thrée 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 yéeres, 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, néere 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 néere 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 thrée 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 thrée 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 néere 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 séemed 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

In this meane while, the rumor was spread abroad that king Alured had
béene 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 néer 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 séemed the Englishmen
men had not to doo with those Danes, which had béene 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 yéere
[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 agréed 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 yéere the Danes soiorned in the winter
season at London, according as they had doone often times before.

       *       *       *       *       *

_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._


[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 spéed 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 yéeres 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 sée 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
kéepe 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 béene
said, saint Cuthbert appéered to him as he laie in sléepe, 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 séene and learned the demeanour of his enimies, he returned againe
to his people at Edlingsey, and there declared to his nobles what he
had séene 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 wéeke after Easter, in the seuenth yéere 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 sée him abroad. From thence he
[Sidenote: Edantdune. This battell should séeme 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 fouretéene 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 yéeres.

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 whòme 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 Lée,
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 Watlingstréet."

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 sée more at large.

       *       *       *       *       *

_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


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

[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ 878.]
In the eight yéere of king Alfred his reigne, the armie of the
Danes wintered at Cirencester, and the same yéere an other armie of
strangers called Wincigi laie at Fulham, and in the yéere 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 yéere 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 kéeping 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 béene in France, returned
into England, and arriued in the hauen or riuer of Limene in the east
part of Kent, néere 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 déed, 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, séeking 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 yéere 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 Lée.]
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 yéere following, the other armie which had brought the ships
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
into the riuer Luie, began to build a castell néere 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 thrée 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 thrée yéeres 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 yéere 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 yéeres 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 succéeded him, and Adelwold: also thrée
[Sidenote: Elfleda.]
daughters, Elfleda or Ethelfleda, Ethelgeda or Edgiua, and Ethelwitha.

       *       *       *       *       *

_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._


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 sée 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 gréeued 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 sée
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 swéet oiles of
inestimable valure. From Rome also he brought a péece 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
estéemed for his vertue and lerning with Alfred. This worke he tooke
in hand about the 23 yéere of his reigne, which was in the yéere
[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 yéeres, as Polydor gathereth.
For Sigebert king of the Eastangles began to erect that vniuersitie at
Cambridge about the yéere 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
philosophiæ_, 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 estéemed 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 yéeres of age before he could read
[Sidenote: He is persuaded by his mother, to applie himselfe to
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 Gréeke 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 thrée 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 sléepe, 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 thrée, 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
succéeding 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 béene diligentlie imploied in supplieng sundrie
insufficiences found in this huge volume.

  NOBILITAS innata tibi probitatis honorem
  _Nobilitie by birth to the (ó Alfred strong in armes)_
  (Armipotens Alfrede) dedit, probitásque laborem,
  _Of goodnes hath the honor giuen, and honor toilesome harmes,_
  Perpetuúmque 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 modò victor eras, ad crastina bella pauebas,
  _If this day thou wert conqueror, the next daies warre thou dredst,_
  Si modò 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 probârunt,
  _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 vitæ finisse labores:
  _Or with the sword the toilesomnesse of life by death diuide_.
  Iam post transactos regni vitæque labores,
  _Now after labours past of realme and life (which he did spend)_
  Christus ei fit vera quies sceptrúmque 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 kéepe 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
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 succéeded 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
succéeded. 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 redéemed 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 sée remoued fr[=o] holie iland to Chester in
the stréet.]
When Guthrid was established king, he caused the bishops see to
be remoued from holie Iland vnto Chester in the stréet, 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 péeres 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.

[Sidenote: Priuiledges granted to S. Cuthberts shrine.]
Moreouer, this priuiledge was granted vnto saint Cuthberts shrine:
that whosoeuer fled vnto the same for succour and safegard, should not
be touched or troubled in anie wise for the space of thirtie, & seuen
daies. And this freedome was confirmed not onelie by king Guthrid, but
also by king Alured. Finallie king Guthrid departed this life in the
[Sidenote: 894.]
yeare of our Lord 894, after he had ruled the Northumbers with
much crueltie (as some say) by the terme of 11 yeares, or somewhat
[Sidenote: _Polydor_. _Will. Malmes._]
more. He is named by some writers Gurmond, and also Gurmo, & thought
to be the same whome king Alured caused to be baptised. Whereas other
affirme, that Guthrid, who ruled the Eastangles, was he that Alured
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ Sithrike.]
receiued at the fontstone: William Malmesburie taketh them to be
but one man, which is not like to be true. After this Guthrid or Gurmo
his sonne Sithrike succeeded, and after him other of that line, till
king Adelstane depriued them of the dominion, and tooke it into his
owne hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edward succeedeth his father Alured in regiment, he is disquieted by
his brother Adelwold a man of a defiled life, he flieth to the Danes
and is of them receiued, king Edwards prouision against the irruptions
and forraies of the Danes, Adelwold with a nauie of Danes entreth
Eastangles, the Essex men submit themselues, he inuadeth Mercia,
and maketh great wast, the Kentishmens disobedience preiudiciall to
themselues, they and the Danes haue a great conflict, king Edward
concludeth a truce with them, he maketh a great slaughter of them by
his Westsaxons and Mercians, what lands came to king Edward by the
death of Edred duke of Mercia, he recouereth diuers places out of the
Danes hands, and giueth them manie a foile, what castels he builded,
he inuadeth Eastangles, putteth Ericke a Danish king therof to flight,
his owne subiects murther him for his crueltie, his kingdome returneth
to the right of king Edward with other lands by him thereto annexed,
his sister Elfleda gouerned the countrie of Mercia during hir life._


[Sidenote: EDWARD THE ELDER. 901.]
After the deceasse of Alured, his sonne Edward surnamed the elder
began his reigne ouer the more part of England, in the yeare of our
Lord 901, which was in the second yeare of the emperor Lewes, in the
eight yeare of the reigne of Charles surnamed Simplex king of
France, and about the eight yeare or Donald king of Scotland. He was
consecrated after the maner of other kings his ancestors by Athelred
the archbishop of Canturburie. This Edward was not so learned as his
father, but in princelie power more high and honorable, for he ioined
the kingdome of Eastangles and Mercia with other vnto his dominion, as
after shall be shewed, and vanquished the Danes, Scots, and Welshmen,
to his great glorie and high commendation.

In the beginning of his reigne he was disquieted by his brother
[Sidenote: Winborne.]
Adelwold, which tooke the towne of Winborne besides Bath, and
maried a nun there, whome he had defloured, & attempted manie things
against his brother. Wherevpon the king came to Bath, and though
Adelwold shewed a countenance as if he would haue abidden the chance
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ Adelwold fleeth to the Danes. _Wil. Malm._]
of warre within Winborne, yet he stole awaie in the night, and fled
into Northumberland, where he was ioifullie receiued of the Danes. The
king tooke his wife being left behind, and restored hir to the house
from whence she was taken. ¶ Some haue written, that this Adelwold or
Ethelwold was not brother vnto king Edward, but his vncles sonne.

After this, king Edward prouiding for the suertie of his subiects
against the forraies, which the Danes vsed to make, fortified diuers
cities and townes, and stuffed them with great garrisons of
[Sidenote: The English nation practised in wars go commonlie awaie
with the victorie.]
souldiers, to defend the inhabitants, and to expell the enimies. And
suerlie the Englishmen were so invred with warres in those daies, that
the people being aduertised of the inuasion of the enimies in anie
part of their countrie, would assemble oftentimes without knowledge of
king or capteine, and setting vpon the enimies, went commonlie awaie
with victorie, by reason that they ouermatched them both in number and
practise. So were the enimies despised of the English souldiers,
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
and laughed to scorne of the king for their foolish attempts. Yet in
the third yeare of king Edwards reigne, Adelwold his brother came with
a nauie of Danes into the parties of the Eastangles, and euen
[Sidenote: Essex yéelded to Adelwold. _Ran. Higd._]
at the first the Essex men yeelded themselues vnto him. In the yéere
following he inuaded the countrie of Mercia with a great armie,
wasting and spoiling the same vnto Crikelade, and there passing ouer
[Sidenote: Brittenden.]
the Thames, rode foorth till he came to Basingstoke, or (as some
bookes haue) Brittenden, harieng the countrie on each side, and so
returned backe vnto Eastangles with great ioy and triumph.

[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._]
King Edward awakened héerewith assembled his people, and followed
the enimies, wasting all the countries betwixt the riuer of Ouse and
saint Edmunds ditch. And when he should returne, he gaue commandement
that no man should staie behind him, but come backe togither for
[Sidenote: The Kentishmen disobeing the kings commandement, are
surprised by the enimies. Adelwold king Edwards brother.]
doubt to be forelaid by the enimies. The Kentishmen notwithstanding
this ordinance and commandement, remained behind, although the king
sent seuen messengers for them. The Danes awaiting their aduantage,
came togither, and fiercelie fought with the Kentishmen, which a long
time valiantlie defended themselues. But in the end the Danes obtained
the victorie, although they lost more people there than the Kentishmen
did: and amongst other, there were slaine the foresaid Adelwold, and
diuerse of the chiefe capteins amongst the Danes. Likewise of the
English side, there died two dukes, Siwolfe & Singlem or Sigbelme,
with sundrie other men of name, both temporall and also spirituall
lords and abbats. In the fift yéere of his reigne, king Edward
concluded a truce with the Danes of Eastangle and Northumberland at
Itingford. But in the yéere following, he sent an armie against them
[Sidenote: Fortie daies saith _Simon Dun._]
of Northumberland, which slue manie of the Danes, and tooke great
booties both of people and cattell, remaining in the countrie the
space of fiue weekes.

The yéere next insuing, the Danes with a great armie entered into
Mercia, to rob & spoile the countrie, against whome king Edward sent a
mightie host, assembled togither of the Westsaxons & them of Mercia,
which set vpon the Danes, as they were returning homeward, and slue
of them an huge multitude, togither with their chiefe capteins and
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
leaders, as king Halden, and king Eolwils, earle Vter, earle
Scurfa, and diuerse other. In the yéere 912, or (as Simon Dunel.
saith) 908, the duke of Mercia Edred or Etheldred departed this life,
and then king Edward seized into his hands the cities of London and
Oxford, and all that part of Mercia which he held. But afterwards he
suffered his sister Elfleda to inioy the most part thereof, except the
said cities of London and Oxford, which he still reteined in his owne
hand. This Elfleda was wife to the said duke Edred or Etheldred, as
before you haue heard: of whose woorthie acts more shall be said

In the ninth yéere of his reigne, king Edward built a castell at
[Sidenote: Wightham.]
Hertford, and likewise he builded a towne in Essex at Wightham,
and lay himselfe in the meane time at Maldon, otherwise Meauldun,
bringing a great part of the countrie vnder his subiection, which
before was subiect to the Danes. In the yéere following, the armie of
[Sidenote: Chester, or rather Leicester, as I thinke. Digetune.]
the Danes departed from Northampton and Chester in breach of
the former truce, and slue a great number of men at Hochnerton in
Oxfordshire. And shortlie after their returne home, an other companie
of them went foorth, and came to Leighton, where the people of the
countrie being assembled togither, fought with them & put them to
flight, taking from them all the spoile which they had got, and also
their horsses.

In the 11 yéere of king Edward, a fleet of Danes compassed about the
west parts, & came to the mouth of Seuerne, and so tooke preies in
Wales: they also tooke prisoner a Welsh bishop named Camelgaret,
[Sidenote: Irchenfield.]
at Irchenfield, whome they led to their ships: but king Edward
redéemed him out of their hands, paieng them fortie pounds for his
ransome. After that the armie of Danes went foorth to spoile the
countrie about Irchenfield, but the people of Chester, Hereford, and
other townes and countries thereabout assembled togither, and giuing
battell to the enimies, put them to flight, and slue one of their
[Sidenote: Danes discomfited.]
noble men called earle Rehald, and Geolcil the brother of earle
Vter, with a great part of their armie, & draue the residue into a
castell, which they besieged till the Danes within it gaue hostages,
and couenanted to depart out of the kings land. The king caused the
coasts about Seuerne to be watched, that they should not breake into
his countrie: but yet they stale twise into the borders: neuerthelesse
they were chased and slaine as manie as could not swim, and so get to
[Sidenote: The Ile of Stepen. Deomedun.]
their ships. Then they remained in the Ile of Stepen, in great
miserie for lacke of vittels, bicause they could not go abroad to
[Sidenote: Danes saile into Ireland.]
get anie. At length they departed into Northwales, and from thence
sailed into Ireland.

The same yéere king Edward came to Buckingham with an armie, and there
taried a whole moneth, building two castels, the one vpon the one side
of the water of Ouse, and the other vpon the other side of the
[Sidenote: Turketillus an earle.]
same riuer. He also subdued Turketillus an earle of the Danes that
dwelt in that countrie, with all the residue of the noble men and
barons of the shires of Bedford and Northampton. In the 12 yéere of
king Edwards reigne, the Kentishmen and Danes fought togither at
Holme: but whether partie had the victorie, writers haue not declared.
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
Simon Dunelm. speaketh of a battell which the citizens of
Canturburie fought against a number of Danish rouers at Holme, where
the Danes were put to flight, but that should be (as he noteth) 8
yéeres before this supposed time, as in the yéere 904, which was about
the third yéere of king Edwards reigne.

[Sidenote: _Anno_ 911. _Simon Dun._]
After this, other of the Danes assembled themselues togither,
and in Staffordshire at a place called Tottenhall fought with the
Englishmen, and after great slaughter made on both parties, the Danes
were ouercome: and so likewise were they shortlie after at Woodfield
or Wodenfield. And thus king Edward put the Danes to the woorse
in each place commonlie where he came, and hearing that those in
Northumberland ment to breake the peace: he inuaded the countrie, and
so afflicted the same, that the Danes which were inhabitants there,
[Sidenote: _Polydor_. Ericke king of Eastangles.]
gladlie continued in rest and peace. But in this meane time,
Ericke the king of those Danes which held the countrie of Eastangle,
was about to procure new warre, and to allure other of the Danes to
ioine with him against the Englishmen, that with common agréement they
might set vpon the English nation, and vtterlie subdue them.

[Sidenote: King Edward inuadeth the countrie of the Eastangles.]
King Edward hauing intelligence héereof, purposed to preuent him,
and therevpon entering with an armie into his countrie, cruellie
wasted and spoiled the same. King Ericke hauing alreadie his people
in armor through displeasure conceiued heereof, and desire to be
reuenged, hasted foorth to incounter his enimies: and so they met in
[Sidenote: Ericke put to flight.]
the field, and fiercelie assailed ech other. But as the battell
was rashlie begun on king Ericks side, so was the end verie harmefull
to him: for with small adoo, after great losse on both sides, he was
vanquished and put to flight.

After his comming home, bicause of his great ouerthrow and fowle
discomfiture, he began to gouerne his people with more rigor & sharper
dealing than before time he had vsed. Whereby he prouoked the malice
of the Eastangles so highlie against him, that they fell vpon him and
murthered him: yet did they not gaine so much hereby as they looked to
haue doone: for shortlie after, they being brought low, and not able
to defend their countrie, were compelled to submit themselues vnto
[Sidenote: The kingdom of the Eastangles subdued by K. Edward.]
king Edward. And so was that kingdome ioined vnto the other dominions
of the same king Edward, who shortlie after annexed the kingdome of
Mercia vnto other of his dominions, immediatlie vpon the death of his
sister Elfleda, whom he permitted to rule that land all hir life.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Elfleda the sister of king Edward highlie commended for government,
what a necessarie staie she was vnto him in hir life time, what townes
she builded and repared, hir warlike exploits against the Danes,
hir death and buriall; the greatest part of Britaine in K. Edwards
dominion, he is a great builder and reparer of townes, his death, the
dreame of his wife Egina, and the issue of the same, what children
king Edward had by his wiues, and how they were emploied, the decay of
the church by the meanes of troubles procured by the Danes, England
first curssed and why; a prouinciall councell summoned for the reliefe
of the churches ruine, Pleimond archbishop of Canturburie sent to
Rome, bishops ordeined in sundrie prouinces; dissention among writers
what pope should denounce the foresaid cursse; a succession of
archbishops in the see of Canturburie, one brother killeth another._


Not without good reason did king Edward permit vnto his sister Elfleda
the gouernment of Mercia, during hir life time: for by hir wise and
politike order vsed in all hir dooings, he was greatlie furthered &
assisted; but speciallie in reparing and building of townes & castels,
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ _Matth. West._ _Simon Dun._]
wherein she shewed hir noble magnificence, in so much that during
hir government, which continued about eight yéeres, it is recorded by
writers, that she did build and repare these towns, whose
[Sidenote: Tamwoorth was by hir repared, anno 914. Eadsburie and
Warwike. 915.]
names here insue: Tamwoorth beside Lichfield, Stafford, Warwike,
Shrewsburie, Watersburie or Weddesburie, Elilsburie or rather
Eadsburie, in the forrest of De la mere besides Chester, Brimsburie
bridge vpon Seuerne, Rouncorne at the mouth of the riuer Mercia with
other. Moreouer, by hir helpe the citie of Chester, which by Danes had
[Sidenote: Chester repared, 905. _Sim. Dun._]
beene greatlie defaced, was newlie repared, fortified with walls
and turrets, and greatlie inlarged. So that the castell which stood
without the walls before that time, was now brought within compasse of
the new wall.

Moreouer she boldlie assalted hir enimies which went about to trouble
the state of the countrie, as the Welshmen and Danes. She sent an
armie into Wales, and tooke the towne of Brecknocke with the queene
[Sidenote: Quéene of the Welshmen taken. Brecenamere. _Ran. Higd._
_Hen. Hunt._ 918. Darbie won from the Danes.]
of the Welshmen at Bricenamere. Also she wan from the Danes the towne
of Darbie, and the countrie adioining. In this enterprise she put hir
owne person in great aduenture: for a great multitude of Danes that
were withdrawen into Darbie, valiantlie defended the gates and entries,
in so much that they slue foure of hir chiefe men of warre, which were
named wardens of hir person, euen fast by hir at the verie entrie of
the gates. But this notwithstanding, with valiant fight hir people
entered, and so the towne was woon: she got diuerse other places out
of their hands, & constreined them of Yorkeshire to agree with hir, so
that some of them promised to become hir subiects: some vowed to aid
hir, and some sware to be at hir commandement.

[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt. Anno Christie_ 919.]
Finallie, this martiall ladie and manlie Elfleda, the supporter
of hir countriemen, and terrour of the enimies, departed this life at
Tamwoorth about the 12 of Iune, in the 18 or rather 19 yéere of
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ _Simon Dun._]
hir brother king Edwards reigne, as by Matth. West it should appeere.
But Simon Dunelm. writeth, that she deceassed in the yeere of Christ
915, which should be about the 14 yéere of king Edwards reigne.
Hir bodie was conueied to Glocester, and there buried within the
monasterie of S. Peter, which hir husband and she in their life time
had builded, and translated thither the bones of saint Oswill from
Bardona. The same monasterie was after destroied by Danes. But
[Sidenote: _Ranul._]
Aldredus the archbishop of Yorke, who was also bishop of Worcester,
repared an other in the same citie, that was after the chiefe abbeie
there. Finallie, in memorie of the said Elfleds magnanimitie and
valorous mind, this epitaph was fixed on hir toome.

  _O Elfleda potens, ô terror virgo virorum,
  O Elfleda potens, nomine digna viri.
  Te quóque splendidior fecit natura puellam,
  Te probitas fecit nomen habere viri.
  Te mutare decet sed solum nomina sexus,
  Tu regina potens rexque trophea parans.
  Iam nec Cæsareos tantum mirere triumphos,
  Cæsare splendidior virgo virago, vale._

  [Sidenote: Translated by _Abraham Fleming_.]
  O puissant Elfled, ô thou maid
    of men the dread and feare,
  O puissant Elfled woorthie maid
    the name of man to beare.
  A noble nature hath thee made
    a maiden mild to bee,
  Thy vertue also hath procurde
    a manlie name to thee.
  It dooth but onelie thee become,
    of sex to change the name,
  A puissant queene, a king art thou
    preparing trophes of fame.
  Now maruell not so much at Cæsars
    triumphs [trim to vieu;]
  O manlike maiden more renowmd
    than Cæsar was, adieu.

[Sidenote: This Alfwen was sister to Edelfled, as _H. Hunt._ saith.]
After the deceasse of Elfleda, king Edward tooke the dominion of
Mercia (as before we haue said) into his owne hands, and so disherited
his néece Alfwen or Elswen, the daughter of Elfleda, taking hir
awaie with him into the countrie of Westsaxons. By this meanes he so
amplified the bounds of his kingdome, that he had the most part of all
[Sidenote: Stratcluid or Stretcled, a kingdome in Wales.]
this Iland of Britaine at his commandement: for the kings of the
Welshmen; namelie the king of Stretcled, and of the Scots,
acknowledging him to be their chiefe souereigne lord, and the Danes
in Northumberland were kept so short, that they durst attempt nothing
[Sidenote: K. Edward a great builder and reparer of townes.]
against him in his latter daies: so that he had time to applie the
building and reparing of cities, townes, and castels, wherein he so
much delighted. He builded a new towne at Notingham on the southside
[Sidenote: Notingham bridge built. _Matt. West._]
of Trent, and made a bridge ouer that riuer betwixt the old towne
[Sidenote: Manchester repared. Anno 816. _Simon Dun._]
and the new. He also repared Manchester beyond the riuer of Mercia
in Lancashire, accounted as then in the south end of Northumberland,
and he built a towne of ancient writers called Thilwall, neere to the
same riuer of Mercia, and placed therein a garrison of souldiers:
[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._]
diuerse other townes and castels he built, as two at Buckingham on
either side of the water of Ouse (as before is shewed) and also one at
the mouth of the riuer of Auon. He likewise built or new repared
the townes of Tocetor and Wigmore, with diuerse other, as one at
Glademuth, about the last yéere of his reigne. Some also he destroied
which séemed to serue the enimies turne for harborough, as a castell
at Temnesford, which the Danes builded and fortified.

At length, after that this noble prince king Edward had reigned
somewhat aboue the tearme of 23 yéeres, he was taken out of this life
at Faringdon: his bodie was conueied from thence vnto Winchester, and
there buried in the new abbeie. He had thrée wiues, or (as some haue
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
written) but two, affirming that Edgiua was not his wife, but his
concubine, of whome he begat his eldest sonne Adelstan, who succéeded
him in the kingdome. This Edgiua (as hath béene reported) dreamed
[Sidenote: A dreame.]
on a time that there rose a moone out of hir bellie, which with the
bright shine thereof gaue light ouer all England: and telling hir
dreame to an ancient gentlewoman, who coniecturing by the dreame that
which followed, tooke care of hir, and caused hir to be brought vp in
good manners and like a gentlewoman, though she were borne but of base

Heerevpon when she came to ripe yéeres, king Edward by chance comming
to the place where she was remaining, vpon the first sight was
streight rauished with hir beautie (which in déed excelled) that she
could not rest till he had his pleasure of hir, and so begot of hir
the foresaid Adelstan: by hir he had also a daughter that was maried
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ _Polydor_.]
vnto Sithrike a Dane and K. of Northumberland. The Scotish writers
name hir Beatrice, but our writers name hir Editha. His second or
rather his first wife (if he were not maried to Eguina mother to
Adelstan) was called Elfleda or Elfrida, daughter to one earle
Ethelme, by whom he had issue; to wit, two sonnes Ethelward and
[Sidenote: The issue of K. Edward.]
Edwin, which immediatlie departed this life after their father; and
six daughters, Elfleda, Edgiua, Ethelhilda, Ethilda, Edgitha, and
Elfgiua. Elfleda became a nun, and Ethelhilda also liued in perpetuall
virginitie, but yet in a laie habit.

[Sidenote: Alias Edgiua. _Wil. Malm._]
Edgitha was maried to Charles king of France, surnamed Simplex.
And Ethilda by helpe of hir brother Adelstan was bestowed vpon Hugh
sonne to Robert earle of Paris, for hir singular beautie most highlie
estéemed: sith nature in hir had shewed as it were hir whole cunning,
in perfecting hir with all gifts and properties of a comelie
personage. Edgiua and Elgiua were sent by their brother Adelstan into
Germanie, vnto the emperor Henrie, who bestowed one of them vpon his
sonne Otho, that was after emperor, the first of that name; and the
other vpon a duke inhabiting about the Alpes: by his last wife named
Edgiua, he had also two sonnes, Edmund & Eldred, the which both
reigned after their brother Adestan successiuelie. Also he had by hir
two daughters, Edburge that was made a nun, and Edgiue a ladie of
excellent beautie, whom hir brother Adelstan gaue in mariage vnto
Lewes king of Aquitaine.

[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ _Wil. Malm._ _Matth. West._]
Whilest this land was in continuall trouble of warres against the
Danes, as before is touched, small regard was had to the state of the
church, in somuch that the whole countrie of the Westsaxons by the
space of seuen yéeres togither (in the daies of this king Edward)
remained without anie bishop, to take order in matters apperteining to
[Sidenote: England first accurssed.]
the church. Wherevpon the pope had accurssed the English people,
bicause they suffred the bishops sees to be vacant so long a time.
[Sidenote: Anno 903.]
King Edward to auoid the cursse, assembled a prouinciall councell,
905, in the which the archbishop of Canturburie Pleimond was
president. Wherein it was ordeined, that whereas the prouince of
Westsaxons in times past had but two bishops, now it should be diuided
into fiue diocesses, euerie of them to haue a peculiar bishop.

When all things were ordered and concluded in this synod (as was
thought requisite) the archbishop was sent to Rome with rich presents,
to appease the popes displeasure. When the pope had heard what order
the king had taken, he was contented therewith. And so the archbishop
returned into his countrie, and in one day at Canturburie ordeined
[Sidenote: Winchester. Cornewall. Shireborne. Welles. Kirton. Mercia.]
seuen bishops, as fiue to the prouince of Westsaxons, that is to
say, Fridestane to the sée of Winchester, Adelstan to S. German in
Cornwall, Werstan to Shireborne, Adelme to Welles, and Edulfe to
Kirton. Also to the prouince of Sussex he ordeined one Bernegus, and
to Dorchester for the prouince of Mercia one Cenulfus.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ saith that pope Formosus pronounced this cursse.
¶ Heere ye must note, that where William Malme. Polychro. and
other doo affirme, that pope Formosus did accursse king Edward and the
English nation, for suffering the bishops sees to be vacant, it can
not stand with the agreement or the time, vnlesse that the cursse
pronounced by Formosus for this matter long afore was not regarded,
vntill Edward had respect thereto. For the same Formosus began to
gouerne the Romane see about the yéere of our Lord 892, and liued
in the papasie not past six yéeres, so that he was dead before king
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
Edward came to the crowne. But how so euer this matter maie fall
out, this ye haue to consider: although that Pleimond was sent vnto
Rome to aduertise the pope what the king had decréed & doone, in the
ordeining of bishops to their seuerall sées, as before ye haue heard,
yet (as maister Fox hath noted) the gouernance and direction of the
church depended chieflie vpon the kings of this land in those daies,
as it manifestlie appeereth, as well by the decrees of king Alfred, as
of this king Edward, whose authoritie in the election of bishops (as
before ye haue heard) seemed then alone to be sufficient.

Moreouer, I thinke it good to aduertise you in this place, that this
Pleimond archbishop of Canturburie (of whome ye haue heard before) was
the 19 in number from Augustine the first archbishop there: for after
Brightwold that was the 8 in number, and first of the English nation
that gouerned the sée, succeeded Taduin, that sat three yeeres,
Notelin fiue yéeres, Cuthbert 18 yéeres, Brethwin thrée yéeres,
Lambert 27 yéeres, Adelard 13 yéeres, Wilfred 28 yéeres, Theologildus
or Pleogildus 3 yéeres, Celuotus or Chelutus 10 yéeres. Then succéeded
Aldred, of whome king Edward receiued the crowne, and he was
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
predecessor to Pleimond. A litle before the death of king Edward,
Sithrike the king of Northumberland killed his brother Nigellus, and
then king Reinold conquered the citie of Yorke.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Adelstane succeedeth his father Edward in the kingdome, Alfred
practising by treason to keepe him from the gouernement, sanke downe
suddenlie as he was taking his oth for his purgation; the cause why
Alfred opposed himselfe against Adelstane, whose praise is notable,
what he did to satisfie the expectation of his people, ladie Beatrice
king Edwards daughter maried to Sithrike a Danish gouernor of the
Northumbers, by whose meanes Edwin king Edwards brother was drowned,
practises of treason, the ladie Beatrice strangelie put to death by
hir stepsons for being of counsell to poison hir husband Sithrike, hir
death reuenged vpon the tormentors by hir father king Edward, and how
chronographers varie in the report of this historie._


[Sidenote: ADELSTAN. _Matt. West._ _Will. Malmes._ 924.]
Adelstane the eldest sonne of king Edward began his reigne ouer the
more part of all England, the yéere of our Lord 924, which was in the
6 yere of the emperour Henrie the first, in the 31 yéere of the reigne
of Charles surnamed Simplex king of France, thrée moneths after the
burning of Pauie, & about the 22 or 23 yéere of Constantine the third,
king of Scotland. This Adelstane was crowned and consecrated king at
Kingstone vpon Thames, of Aldelme the archbishop of Canturburie, who
succéeded Pleimond. He was the 24 king in number from Cerdicus or
Cerdike the first king of the Westsaxons. There were in the
[Sidenote: Alfred striueth in vaine to kéepe Adelstane from the
gouernment. _Wil. Malm._
See more hereof in the acts and monuments set foorth by _M. Fox,_
vol. 1. leafe 195.]
beginning some that set themselues against him, as one Alfred a noble
man, which practised by treason to haue kept him from the gouernement:
but he was apprehended yer he could bring his purpose to passe, and
sent to Rome there to trie himselfe giltie or not giltie. And as he
tooke his oth for his purgation before the altar of saint Peter, he
suddenlie fell downe to the earth, so that his seruants tooke him vp,
and bare him into the English schoole or hospitall, where the third
night after he died.

Pope Iohn the tenth sent vnto king Adelstane, to know if he would that
his bodie should be laid in Christian buriall or not. The king at the
contemplation of Alfreds friends and kinsfolks, signified to the pope
that he was contented that his bodie should be interred amongst other
christians. His lands being forfeited were giuen by the king vnto God
and saint Peter. The cause that mooued Alfred and other his complices
against the king, was (as some haue alledged) his bastardie. But
whether that allegation were true or but a slander, this is certeine,
that except that steine of his honor, there was nothing in this
Adelstane worthie of blame: so that he darkened all the glorious
fame of his predecessors, both in vertuous conditions and victorious
triumphs. Such difference is there to haue that in thy selfe wherein
to excell, rather than to stand vpon the woorthinesse of thine
ancestors, sith that can not rightlie be called a mans owne.

After that king Adelstane was established in the estate, he indeuored
himselfe to answer the expectation of his people; which hoped for
great wealth to insue by his noble and prudent gouernance. First
[Sidenote: _Anno 925_. _Simon Dun._ _Polydor_.]
therfore meaning to prouide for the suertie of his countrie, he
concluded a peace with Sithrike king of the Northumbers, vnto whome
(as ye haue heard) he gaue one of his sisters named Editha in mariage.
Sithrike liued not past one yéere after he had so maried hir. And then
Adelstane brought the prouince of the Northumbers vnto his subiection,
expelling one Aldulph out of the same that rebelled against him.
There be that write, that Godfrie and Aulafe the sonnes of Sithrike
succéeding their father in the gouernement of Northumberland, by
practising to mooue warre against king Adelstane, occasioned him to
inuade their countrie, and to chase them out of the same, so that
Aulafe fled into Ireland, & Godfrie into Scotland: but other write,
that Godfrie was the father of Reignold which wan Yorke, after that
[Sidenote: _H. Hunt._]
Sithrike had slaine his brother Nigellus, as before is mentioned.

[Sidenote: _Hect. Boetius_. The Scotish writers varie from our
English authors.
Beatrice daughter to K. Edward as the Scotish writers say. Edwin was
not brother to K. Edward but son to him.]
¶ The Scotish chronicles varie in report of these matters from the
English writers: whose chronicles affirme, that in the life time of
king Edward, his daughter Beatrice was giuen in mariage to Sithrike,
the gouernor of the Danes in Northumberland, with condition that if
anie male were procreated in that mariage, the same should inherit the
dominions of king Edward after his decease. King Edward had a brother
(as they say) named Edwin, a iolie gentleman, and of great estimation
amongst the Englishmen. He by Sithrikes procurement was sent into
Flanders in a ship that leaked, and so was drowned, to the great
reioising of all the Danes, least if he had suruiued his brother, he
would haue made some businesse for the crowne.

[Sidenote: Adelstane flieth the realme.]
About the same time Adelstane a base sonne of K. Edward fled the
realme, for doubt to be made away by some like traitorous practise of
the Danes. Shortlie after, king Edward vnderstanding that Sithrike
went about some mischiefe toward him, persuaded his daughter to poison
hir husband the said Sithrike. Then Aulafe or Aualassus, and Godfrie
the sonnes of Sithrike, finding out by diligent examination, that
Beatrice was of counsell in poisoning hir husband, they caused hir to
be apprehended and put to death on this wise. She was set naked
[Sidenote: Beatrice put to death by hir stepsons.]
vpon a smithes cold anuill or stithie, and therewith hard rosted egs
being taken out of the hot imbers were put vnder hir armepits, and hir
armes fast bound to hir bodie with a cord, and so in that state she
remained till hir life passed from hir. King Edward in reuenge of his
daughters death mooued warre against the two brethren, Aulafe and
Godfrie, and in battell finallie vanquished them, but was slaine in
the same battell himselfe.

Thus haue the Scotish chronicles recorded of these matters, as an
induction to the warres which followed betwixt the Scots and Danes as
confederates against king Adelstane: but the truth thereof we leaue to
the readers owne iudgement. For in our English writers we find no such
matter, but that a daughter of king Edward named Edgitha or Editha,
after hir fathers deceasse was by hir brother king Adelstane, about
the first yéere of his reigne, giuen in mariage (as before ye haue
heard) vnto the foresaid Sithrike king of Northumberland, that was
descended of the Danish bloud, who for the loue of the yoong ladie,
renounced his heathenish religion and became a christian; but shortlie
after, forsaking both his wife and the christian faith, he set vp
againe the worshipping of idols, and within a while after, as an
apostata miserablie ended his life. Whervpon the yoong ladie, hir
[Sidenote: Editha a virgine.]
virginitie being preserued, and hir bodie vndefiled (as they write)
passed the residue of hir daies at Polleswoorth in Warwikeshire,
spending hir time (as the same writers affirme) in fasting, watching,
praieng, and dooing of almesdéedes, and so at length departed out of
this world. Thus our writers differ from the Scotish historie, both in
name and maner of end as concerning the daughter of king Edward that
was coupled in mariage with Sithrike.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Adelstane subdueth Constantine king of Scots, Howell king of Wales,
and Wulferth king of Northwales, the Scots possesse a great part of
the north countries, Adelstane conquereth the Scots for aiding Godfrie
his enimie; a miracle declaring that the Scots ought to obey the king
of England; king Adelstane banisheth his brother Edwin, he is for a
conspiracie drowned in the sea, Adelstane repenteth him of his rigour
(in respect of that misfortune) against his brother; Aulafe sometimes
king of Northumberland inuadeth England, he disguiseth himselfe like
a minstrell and surueieth the English campe unsuspected, he is
discouered after his departure, be assaileth the English campe,
Adelstane being comforted with a miracle discomfiteth his enimies, he
maketh them of Northwales his tributaries, be subdueth the Cornishmen,
his death; the description of his person, his vertues, of what abbeis
& monasteries he was founder, his estimation in forren realmes,
what pretious presents were sent him from other princes, and how he
bestowed them; a remembrance of Guy the erle of Warwike._


After that king Adelstane had subdued them of Northumberland, he
was aduertised, that not onelie Constantine king of Scots, but also
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
Huduale or Howell K. of Wales went about a priuie conspiracie
against him. Herevpon with all conuenient spéed assembling his power,
he went against them, and with like good fortune subdued them both,
and also Vimer or Wulferth K. of Northwales, so that they were
constreined to submit themselues vnto him, who shortlie after moued
with pitie in considering their sudden fall, restored them all three
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ The noble saieng of king Adelstane. 926.]
to their former estates, but so as they should acknowledge
themselues to gouerne vnder him, pronouncing withall this notable
saieng, that More honorable it was to make a king, than to be a king.

Ye must vnderstand, that (as it appeareth in the Scotish chronicles)
the Scotishmen in time of wars that the Danes gaue the English nation,
got a part of Cumberland and other the north countries into their
possession, and so by reason of their néere adioining vnto the
confines of the English kings, there chanced occasions of warre
betwixt them, as well in the daies of king Edward, as of this
Adelstane his sonne, although in déed the Danes held the more part of
the north countries, till that this Adelstane conquered the same
out of their hands, and ioined it vnto other of his dominions,
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
constreining as well the Danes (of whome the more part of the
inhabitants then consisted) as also the Englishmen, to obey him as
their king and gouernour. Godfrie (as is said) being fled to the
Scots, did so much preuaile there by earnest sute made to king
Constantine, that he got a power of men, and entring with the same
into Northumberland, besiged the citie of Duresme, soliciting the
citizens to receiue him, which they would gladlie haue doone, if they
had not perceiued how he was not of power able to resist the puissance
of king Adelstane: and therefore doubting to be punished for their
offenses if they reuolted, they kept the enimies out. King
[Sidenote: 934.]
Adelstane being sore moued against the king of Scots, that thus aided
his enimies, raised an armie, and went northward, purposing to reuenge
that iniurie.

[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._]
At his comming into Yorkshire, he turned out of the way, to visit
the place where saint Iohn of Beuerlie was buried, and there offered
his knife, promising that if he returned with victorie, he would
redéeme the same with a woorthie price: and so proceeded and went
[Sidenote: _Sim. Dun._]
forwards on his iournie, and entring Scotland, wasted the countrie by
land vnto Dunfoader and Wertermore, and his nauie by sea destroied the
coasts alongst the shore, euen to Catnesse, and so he brought the
[Sidenote: The Scots subdued.]
king of Scots and other his enimies to subiection at his pleasure,
constreining the same K. of Scots to deliuer him his son in hostage.

[Sidenote: A token shewed miraculouslie that the Scots ought to be
subiect to the kings of England.]
It is said, that being in his iournie néere vnto the towne of
Dunbar, he praied vnto God, that at the instance of saint Iohn of
Beuerlie, it would please him to grant, that he might shew some open
token, whereby it should appeare to all them that then liued, and
should hereafter succéed, that the Scots ought to be subiect vnto the
kings of England. Herewith, the king with his sword smote vpon a great
stone standing néere to the castle of Dunbar, and with the stroke,
there appeared a clift in the same stone to the length of an elme,
which remained to be shewed as a witnesse of that thing manie yeares
after. At his comming backe to Beuerlie, he redéemed his knife with a
large price, as before he had promised.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ _Matt. Westm._ 934.]
After this was Edwin the kings brother accused of some conspiracie
by him begun against the king, wherevpon he was banished the land, and
sent out in an old rotten vessell without rower or mariner, onelie
accompanied with one esquier, so that being lanched foorth from
the shore, through despaire Edwin leapt into the sea, and drowned
himselfe, but the esquier that was with him recouered his bodie, and
brought it to land at Withsand besides Canturburie. But Iames Maier in
the annales of Flanders saieth, that he was drowned by fortune of the
seas in a small vessell, and being cast vp into a créeke on the coast
of Picardie, was found by Adolfe earle of Bullongne that was his
coosin germane, and honorablie buried by the same Adolfe in the church
of Bertine. In consideration of which déed of pietie and dutie of
mindfull consanguinitie, the king of England both hartilie thanked
[Sidenote: Repentance too late.]
earle Adolfe, and bestowed great gifts vpon the church where
his brother was thus buried. For verelie king Adelstane after his
displeasure was asswaged, and hearing of this miserable end of his
brother, sore repented himselfe of his rigour so extended towards
him, in so much that he could neuer abide the man that had giuen the
information against him, which was his cupbearer, so that on a time as
the said cupbearer serued him at the table, and came towards him with
a cup of wine, one of his féet chanced to slide, but he recouered
himselfe with the helpe of the other foot, saieng, "One brother yet
hath holpen & succored the other:" which words cost him his life. For
the king remembring that by his accusation he had lost his brother
that might haue béene an aid to him, caused this said cupbearer to be
straight put to death.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
In this meane while, Aulafe the sonne of Sitherike, late king
of Northumberland (who is also named by writers to be king of the
Irishmen, and of manie Ilands) assembled a great power of Danes,
Irishmen, Scots, and other people of the out Iles, and imbarked them
in 615 ships and craiers, with the which he arriued in the mouth of
[Sidenote: 937.]
Humber, and there comming on land, began to inuade the countrie.
This Aulafe had maried the daughter of Constantine king of Scots, by
whose procurement, notwithstanding his late submission, Aulafe
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
tooke in hand this iournie. King Adelstane aduertised of his enimies
arriuall, gathered his people, and with all conuenient spéed hasted
towards them, and approching néerer vnto them, pitcht downe his
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ _Wil. Malm._]
field at a place called by some Brimesburie, by others Brimesford, and
also Brunaubright, and by the Scotish writers Browmingfield.

[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ _Hector Boet._ _Ran. Higd._
Aulafe disguised, cometh to view the English camp.]
When knowledge hereof was had in the enimies campe, Aulafe
enterprised a maruelous exploit, for taking with him an harpe, he came
into the English campe, offring himselfe disguised as a minstrell, to
shew some part of his cunning in musicke vpon his instrument: and so
being suffered to passe from tent to tent, and admitted also to plaie
afore the king, surueied the whole state and order of the armie. This
doone, he returned, meaning by a cammisado to set vpon the kings tent.
But one that had serued as a souldier sometime vnder Aulafe, chanced
by marking his demeanour to know him, and after he was gone, vttered
to the king what he knew. The king séemed to be displeased, in that
he had not told him so much before Aulafs departure: but in excusing
himselfe, the souldier said: "Ye must remember (if it like your grace)
that the same faith which I haue giuen vnto you, I sometime owght vnto
Aulafe, therfore if I should haue betraied him now, you might well
stand in doubt least I should hereafter doo the like to you: but if
you will follow mine aduise, remoue your tent, least happilie he
assaile you vnwares." The king did so, and as it chanced in the
[Sidenote: Aulafe assaileth the English camp.]
night following, Aulafe came to assaile the English campe, and by
fortune comming to the place where the kings tent stood before, he
found a bishop lodged, which with his companie was come the same day
to the armie, and had pitcht vp his tent in that place from whence the
king was remoued: and so was the same bishop, and most part of his men
there slaine, which slaughter executed, Aulafe passed forward, and
came to the kings tent, who in this meane time, by reason of the
alarum raised, was got vp, and taking to him his sword in that sudden
fright, by chance it fell out of the scabbard, so that he could
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._]
not find it, but calling to God and S. Aldelme (as saith Polychron.)
his sword was restored to the scabbard againe. The king comforted
with that miracle, boldlie preased foorth vpon his enimies, and so
valiantlie resisted them, that in the end he put them to flight, and
chased them all that morning and day following, so that he slue of
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ The enimies discomfited.]
them an huge number. Some haue written, that Constantine king of
Scots was slaine at this ouerthrow, and fiue other small kings or
rulers, with 12 dukes, and welnéere all the armie of those strange
nations which Aulafe had gathered togither. But the Scotish chronicles
affirme, that Constantine was not there himselfe, but sent his sonne
Malcolme, which yet escaped sore hurt and wounded from the battell, as
in the same chronicles ye may sée more at large.

[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._]
When K. Adelstane had thus vanquished his enimies in the north
parties of England, he went against them of Northwales, whose rulers
and princes he caused to come before him at Hereford, and there
handled them in such sort, that they couenanted to pay him yeerlie
[Sidenote: Tribute. The Cornish men subdued.]
in lieu of a tribute 20 pounds of gold, 300 pounds of siluer, and 25
head of neate, with hawks and hownds a certeine number. After this, he
subdued the Cornishmen: and whereas till those daies they inhabited
the citie of Excester, mingled amongest the Englishmen, so that the
one nation was as strong within that citie as the other, he rid them
[Sidenote: Excester repaired. 940.]
quite out of the same, and repared the walles, and fortified them
with ditches and turrets as the maner then was, and so remoued the
Cornish men further into the west parts of the countrie, that he made
Tamer water to be the confines betwéene the Englishmen and them.
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ The decease of king Adelstane.]
Finallie the noble prince king Adelstane departed out of this
world, the 26 day of October, after he had reigned the tearme of 16
yeares. His bodie was buried at Malmesburie.

[Sidenote: The description of king Adelstane.]
He was of such a stature, as exceeded not the common sort of men,
stooping somewhat, and yellowe haired, for his valiancie ioined with
courtesie beloued of all men, yet sharpe against rebels, and of
inuincible constancie: his great deuotion toward the church appeared
in the building, adorning & indowing of monasteries and abbeis. He
built one at Wilton within the diocesse of Salisburie, and an other at
Michelnie in Summersetshire. But besides these foundations, there were
few famous monasteries within this land, but that he adorned the same
either with some new péece of building, iewels, bookes, or portion of
[Sidenote: Wolstan archbishop of Yorke. His estimation in forain realmes.]
lands. He had in excéeding fauour Wolstan archbishop of Yorke
that liued in his daies, for whose sake he greatlie inriched that
bishoprike. His fame spread ouer all the parties of Europe, so that
sundrie princes thought themselues happie if they might haue his
friendship, either by affinitie or otherwise: by meanes whereof, he
bestowed his sisters so highlie in mariage as before ye haue heard. He
receiued manie noble and rich presents from diuers princes, as from
Hugh king of France, horsses and sundrie rich iewels, with certeine
relikes: as Constantines sword, in the hilt whereof was set one of
the nailes wherewith Christ was fastened to the crosse, the speare of
Charles the great, which was thought to be the same wherewith the side
of our sauiour was pearced, the banner of saint Maurice, with a part
of the holie crosse, and likewise a part of the thorned crowne: yet
Mandeuile saw the one halfe of this crowne in France, and the other at
Constantinople, almost 400 yeares after this time, as he writeth. Of
these iewels king Adelstane gaue part to the abbie of saint Swithon at
Winchester, and part to the abbie of Malmesburie. Moreouer, the king
of Norwaie sent vnto him a goodlie ship of fine woorkmanship, with
gilt sterne and purple sailes, furnished round about the decke within
with a rowe of gilt pauises. ¶ In the daies of this Adelstane
[Sidenote: _Harding_.]
reigned that right worthie Guy earle of Warwike, who (as some writers
haue recorded) fought with a mightie giant of the Danes in a singular
combat, and vanquished him.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edmund succeedeth Adelstane in the kingdome, the Danes of
Northumberland rebell against him, a peace concluded betwene Aulafe
their king and king Edmund vpon conditions, Aulafe dieth, another
of that name succeedeth him; king Edmund subdueth the Danes, and
compelleth them to receiue the christian faith, Reinold and Aulafe are
baptised, they violate their fealtie vowed to king Edmund, they are
put to perpetuall exile; why king Edmund wasted all Northumberland,
caused the eies of king Dunmails sonnes to be put out, and assigned
the said countrie to Malcolme king of Scots; the Scotish chroniclers
error in peruerting the time & order of the English kings, king
Edmunds lawes, by what misfortune he came to his end, how his death
was foreshewed to Dunstane in a vision, a tale of the vertue of the
crosse, Dunstane reproueth duke Elstane, his dreame, and how the
interpretation thereof came to passe._


[Sidenote: EDMUND.]
After that Adelstane was departed this life, without leauing issue
behind to succéed him in the kingdome, his brother Edmund, sonne of
Edward the elder, borne of his last wife Edgiue, tooke vpon him the
gouernement of this land, and began his reigne in the yeare of our
Lord 940, which was in the fift yeare of the emperor Otho the 1, in
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ 940.]
the 13 of Lewes surnamed Transmarinus king of France, and about
the 38 yeare of Constantine the third king of Scotland. The Danes of
Northumberland rebelled against this Edmund, and ordeined Aulafe to
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
be their king, whom they had called out of Ireland. Some write that
this Aulafe, which now in the beginning of Edmunds reigne came into
Northumberland, was king of Norwaie, & hauing a great power of men
with him, marched foorth towards the south parts of this land, in
purpose to subdue the whole: but king Edmund raised a mightie armie,
and incountred with his enimies at Leicester. Howbeit, yer the matter
came to the vttermost triall of battell, through the earnest sute of
the archbishop of Canturburie and Yorke Odo and Wolstan, a peace was
concluded; so as Edmund should inioy all that part of the land
[Sidenote: A peace concluded. 941.]
which lieth from Watlingstréet southward, & Aulafe should inioy the
other part as it lieth from the same street northward. Then Aulafe
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ Aulafe deceaseth. Another Aulafe taketh upon
him to rule.]
tooke to wife the ladie Alditha, daughter to earle Ormus, by whose
counsell and assistance he had thus obtained the vpper hand. But this
Aulafe in the yeare following, after he had destroied the church of
saint Balter, and burned Tinningham, departed this life. Then the
other Aulafe that was sonne to king Sithrike, tooke vpon him to
gouerne the Northumbers.

[Sidenote: 942.]
After this, in the yeare 942, king Edmund assembling an armie,
first subdued those Danes which had got into their possession the
cities and towns of Lincolne, Leicester, Darbie, Stafford, and
Notingham, constreining them to receiue the christian faith, and
reduced all the countries euen vnto Humber vnder his subiection. This
doone, Aulafe and Reinold the sonne of Gurmo, who (as you haue heard)
[Sidenote: Gurmo or Godfrey. _Wil. Malm._]
subdued Yorke, as a meane the sooner to obteine peace, offered
to become christians, & to submit themselues vnto him: wherevpon he
receiued them to his peace. There be that write, that this Aulafe is
not that Aulafe which was sonne to king Sithrike, but rather that the
other was he with whom king Edmund made partition of the realme: but
they agree, that this second Aulafe was a Dane also, & being conuerted
to the faith as well through constraint of the kings puissance, as
through the preaching of the gospell, was baptised, king Edmund being
godfather both vnto him, and vnto the foresaid Reinold, to Aulafe at
the verie fontstone, and to Reinold at his confirmation at the bishops
hands. Neuerthelesse, their wicked natures could not rest in quiet,
[Sidenote: 944.]
so that they brake both promise to God, and to their prince, and
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
were therefore in the yeare next following driuen both out of
the countrie, and punished by perpetuall exile. And so king Edmund
adioined Northumberland, without admitting anie other immediat
gouernor, vnto his owne estate.

[Sidenote: Leolin king of Southwales aided king Edmund in this enterprise.
Moreouer, he wasted and spoiled whole Cumberland, because he
could not reduce the people of that countrie vnto due obeisance,
and conformable subiection. The two sonnes of Dunmaile king of that
prouince he apprehended, and caused their eies to be put out. Herewith
vpon consideration either of such aid as he had receiued of the Scots
at that time, or some other friendlie respect, he assigned the said
countrie of Cumberland vnto Malcolme king of Scots, to hold the
same by fealtie of him and his successors. The Scotish chronicles,
peruerting the time and order of the acts and doings of the English
kings which reigned about this season, affirme, that by couenants of
peace concluded betwixt Malcolme king of Scotland, and Adelstan king
of England, it was agréed, that Cumberland should remaine to the
Scots: as in their chronicles you may find at full expressed. And
againe, that Indulfe, who succéeded Malcolme in the kingdome of
Scotland, aided king Edmund against Aulafe, whom the same chronicles
name Aualassus, but the time which they attribute vnto the reignes of
their kings, will not alow the same to stand. For by account of their
writers, king Malcolme began not his reigne till after the deceasse of
king Adelstan, who departed this life in the yeare 940. And Malcolme
succéeded Constantine the third in the yeare 944, which was about the
third yeare of king Edmunds reigne, and after Malcolme (that reigned
15 yeares) succeeded Indulfe in the yeare 959. The like discordance
precedeth and followeth in their writers, as to the diligent reader,
in conferring their chronicles with ours, manifestlie appeareth.
We therefore (to satisfie the desirous to vnderstand and sée the
diuersitie of writers) haue for the more part in their chronicles left
the same as we found it.

[Sidenote: _Polydor_. The lawes of king Edmund.]
But now to the other dooings of king Edmund: it is recorded, that
he ordeined diuers good and wholsome lawes, verie profitable and
necessarie for the commonwealth, which lawes with diuers other of like
antiquitie are forgot and blotted out by rust of time, the consumer of
things woorthie of long remembrance (as saith Polydor:) but sithens
his time they haue béene recouered for the more part, & by maister
[Sidenote: Five yeares and 7 months hath _Si. Dun._]
William Lambert turned into Latine, & were imprinted by Iohn Day,
in the yeare 1568, as before I haue said. Finallie, this prince king
Edmund, after he had reigned sixe yeares and a halfe, he came to his
end by great misfortune. For (as some say) it chanced, that espieng
where one of his seruants was in danger to be slaine amongest his
enimies that were about him with drawen swords, as he stepped in to
haue holpen his seruant, he was slaine at a place called Pulcher
church, or (as other haue) Michelsbourgh.

[Sidenote: Pridecire. saith _Si. Dun._ _Will. Malm._ _Matth. West._
Other say, that kéeping a great feast at the aforesaid place on
the day of saint Augustine the English apostle (which is the 26 of
Maie, and as that yeare came about, it fell on the tuesday) as he was
set at the table, he espied where a common robber was placed neere
vnto him, whome sometime he had banished the land, and now being
returned without licence, he presumed to come into the kings presence,
wherewith the king was so moued with high disdaine, that he suddenlie
arose from the table, and flew vpon the théefe, and catching him by
the heare of the head, threw him vnder his féet, wherewith the théefe,
hauing fast hold on the king, brought him downe vpon him also, and
with his knife stroke him into the bellie, in such wise, that the
kings bowels fell out of his chest, and there presentlie died. The
theefe was hewen in péeces by the kings seruants, but yet he slue
and hurt diuers before they could dispatch him. This chance was
lamentable, namelie to the English people, which by the ouertimelie
death of their king, in whome appeared manie euident tokens of great
excellencie, lost the hope which they had conceiued of great wealth to
increase by his prudent and most princelie gouernement. His bodie was
buried at Glastenburie where Dunstane was then abbat.

There be that write, that the death of king Edmund was signified
[Sidenote: _Capgraue_. A vaine tale.]
aforehand to Dunstane, who about the same time attending vpon
the same king, as he remooued from one place to an other, chanced to
accompanie himselfe with a noble man, one duke Elstane, and as they
rode togither, behold suddenlie Dunstane saw in the waie before him,
where the kings musicians rode, the diuell running and leaping amongst
the same musicians after a reioising maner, whome after he had beheld
a good while, he said to the duke; Is it possible that you may see
that which I sée? The duke answered that he saw nothing otherwise than
[Sidenote: Crossing bringeth sight of the diuels, and crossing driueth
them away.]
he ought to sée. Then said Dunstane, Blesse your eies with the
signe of the crosse, and trie whether you can see that I sée. And
when he had doone as Dunstane appointed him, he saw also the féend
in likenesse of a little short euill fauoured Aethiopian dansing and
leaping, whereby they gathered that some euill hap was towards some of
the companie: but when they had crossed and blessed them, the foule
spirit vanished out of their sight.

[Sidenote: Dunstane an interpreter of dreames.]
Now after they had talked of this vision, and made an end of their
talke touching the same, the duke required of Dunstane to interpret a
dreame which he had of late in sléepe, and that was this: He thought
that he saw in a vision the king with all his nobles sit in his dining
chamber at meate, and as they were there making merrie togither, the
king chanced to fall into a dead sléepe, and all the noble men, and
those of his councell that were about him were changed into robucks
and goats. Dunstane quicklie declared that this dreame signified
[Sidenote: Dunstan séeth the diuell often, but now he was become a
waiter at the table when Dunstane sat with the king.]
the kings death, and the changing of the nobles into dum and
insensible beasts betokened that the princes & gouernors of the realme
should decline from the waie of truth, and wander as foolish beasts
without a guide to rule them. Also the night after this talke when the
king was set at supper, Dunstane saw the same spirit, or some other,
walke vp and downe amongst them that waited at the table, and within
thrée daies after, the king was slaine, as before ye haue heard.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edred succedeth his brother Edmund in the realme of England, the
Northumbers rebell against him, they and the Scots sweare to be his
true subiects, they breake their oth and ioine with Aulafe the Dane,
who returneth into Northumberland, and is made king thereof, the
people expell him and erect Hericius in his roome, king Edred taketh
reuenge on the Northumbers for their disloialtie, the rereward of his
armie is assalted by an host of his enimies issuing out of Yorke, the
Northumbers submit themselues, and put awaie Hericius their king,
Wolstane archbishop of Yorke punished for his disloialtie, whereto
Edred applied himselfe after the appeasing of ciuill tumults, his
death and buriall, a speciall signe of Edreds loue to Dunstane abbat
of Glastenburie, his practise of cousenage touching king Edreds


[Sidenote: EDRED. 946.]
Edred the brother of Edmund, and sonne to Edward the elder and to
Edgiue his last wife, began his reigne ouer the realme of England in
the yéere of our Lord 946, or (as other say) 997, which was in the
twelfe yéere of the emperor Otho the first, and in the 21 yéere of the
reigne of Lewes K. of France, & about the third or fourth yéere of
Malcolme the first of that name, king of Scotland. He was crowned
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
and annointed the 16 day of August by Odo the archbishop of
Canturburie at Kingstone vpon Thames. In the first yéere of his
[Sidenote: The Northumbers rebell and are subdued.]
reigne, the Northumbers rebelled against him, wherevpon he raised an
armie, inuaded their countrie, and subdued them by force. This doone,
he went forward into Scotland: but the Scots without shewing anie
resistance submitted themselues vnto him, and so both Scots and
Northumbers receiued an oth to be true vnto him, which they obserued
but a small while, for he was no sooner returned into the south parts,
[Sidenote: Aulafe returned into Northumberland.]
but that Aulafe which had beene chased out of the countrie by king
Edmund, as before ye haue heard, returned into Northumberland with a
great nauie of ships, and was ioifullie receiued of the inhabitants,
and restored againe to the kingdome, which he held by the space
of foure yéeres, and then by the accustomed disloialtie of the
Northumbers he was by them expelled, and then they set vp one
[Sidenote: Hirke or Hericius. _Wil. Malm._ The disloialtie of the
Northumbers punished.]
Hirke or Hericius the sonne of one Harrold to reigne ouer them, who
held not the estate anie long time. For in the third yeere of his
reigne, Edred in the reuenge of such disloiall dealings in the
Northumbers, destroied the countrie with fire & swoord, sleaing the
most part of the inhabitants. He burnt the abbeie of Rippon, which was
kept against him.

As he was returning homeward, an host of enimies brake out of Yorke,
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ _Simon Dun._ Easterford.]
and setting vpon the rereward of the kings armie at a place called
Easterford, made great slaughter of the same. Wherefore the king in
his rage ment to haue begun a new spoile and destruction, but the
Northumbers humbled themselues so vnto him, that putting awaie their
forsaid king Hirke or Hericius, and offering great rewards and gifts
to buy their peace, they obteined pardon. But bicause that Wolstane
the archbishop of Yorke was of counsell with his countriemen in
reuolting from king Edred, and aduancing of Hericius, king Edred tooke
him and kept him in prison a long time after, but at length in respect
of the reuerence which he bare to his calling, he set him at libertie,
and pardoned him his offense. Matth. Westm. reciteth an other
[Sidenote: The archbishop of Yorke imprisoned. _Matth. West._ 951.]
cause of Wolstans imprisonment, as thus. In the yéere of Grace, saith
he, 951, king Edred put the archbishop of Yorke in close prison,
bicause of often complaints exhibited against him, as he which had
commanded manie townesmen of Theadford to be put to death, in reuenge
of the abbat Aldelme by them vniustlie slaine and murthered.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
After this, when Edred had appeased all ciuill tumults and
dissentions within his land, he applied him selfe to the aduancing of
religion, wholie following the mind of Dunstane, by whose exhortation
he suffered patientlie manie torments of the bodie, and exercised
himselfe in praier and other deuout studies. This Edred in his latter
daies being greatlie addicted to deuotion & religious priests, at the
request of his mother Edgiua, restored the abbeie of Abington which
was built first by king Inas, but in these daies sore decaied and
[Sidenote: Edredus departeth this life.]
fallen into ruine. Finallie, after he had reigned nine yéeres and
a halfe, he departed this life to the great gréeuance of men, and
reioising of angels (as it is written) and was buried at Winchester in
the cathedrall church there. ¶ Heere is to be noted, that the foresaid
Edred, when he came first to the crowne, vpon a singular and most
[Sidenote: Dunstane in fauour.]
especiall fauour which he bare towards Dunstane the abbat of
Glastenburie, committed vnto him the chiefest part of all his
treasure, as charters of lands with other monuments, and such ancient
princelie iewels as belonged to the former kings, with other such as
he got of his owne, willing him to lay the same in safe kéeping within
his monasterie of Glastenburie.

Afterward, when king Edred perceiued himselfe to be in danger of death
by force of that sickenesse, which in déed made an end of his life, he
sent into all parties to such as had anie of his treasure in kéeping,
to bring the same vnto him with all spéed, that he might dispose
[Sidenote: But was not this a deuise thereby to deteine the treasure?
for I doo not read that he deliuered it out of his hands.]
thereof before his departure out of this life, as he should sée cause.
Dunstane tooke such things as he had vnder his hands, & hasted forward
to deliuer the same vnto the king, and to visit him in that time of
his sickenesse according to his dutie: but as he was vpon the waie,
a voice spake to him from heauen, saieng; Behold king Edred is now
departed in peace. At the hearing of this voice, the horsse whereon
Dunstane rode fell downe and died, being not able to abide the
presence of the angell that thus spake to Dunstane. And when he came
to the court, he vnderstood that the king died the same houre in which
[Sidenote: An angell, or as some think a woorse creature.]
it was told him by the angell, as before ye haue heard.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edwin succeedeth Edred in the kingdome of England, his beastlie and
incestuous carnalite with a kinswoman of his on the verie day of
his coronation, he is reproued of Dunstane and giueth ouer the
gentlewomans companie, Dunstane is banished for rebuking king Edwin
for his unlawfull lust and lewd life, the diuell reioised at his
exile, what reuenging mischiefs the king did for displeasure sake
against the said Dunstane in exile, the middle part of England
rebelleth against king Edwin, and erecteth his brother Edgar in roiall
roome ouer them, he taketh thought and dieth; Edgar succeedeth him, he
is a fauourer of moonks, his prouision for defense of his realme, his
policie and discretion in gouernment, what kings he bound by oth to be
true vnto him, eight princes row his barge in signe of submission,
the vicious inconueniences that grew among the Englishmen vpon his
fauouring of the Danes, a restraint of excessiue quaffing; Dunstane is
made bishop of Worcester and Ethelwold bishop of Wincester; iustice in
Edgars time seuerelie executed, theft punished with death, a tribute
of woolfs skins paid him out of Wales, and the benefit of that


[Sidenote: EDWIN. 955.]
After the deceasse of Edred, his nephue Edwin the eldest sonne of
king Edmund was made king of England, and began his reigne ouer the
same in the yeere of our Lord 955, & in the 20 yéere of the emperor
Otho the first, in the 28 and last yéere of the reigne of Lewes king
of France, and about the twelfe yeere of Malcolme the first of that
name, king of Scotland. He was consecrated at Kingston vpon Thames by
Odo the archbishop of Canturburie. On the verie day of his coronation,
as the lords were set in councell about weightie matters touching
[Sidenote: _Will. Malmes._ _Polydor_.]
the gouernment of the realme, he rose from the place, gat him into a
chamber with one of his néere kinswomen, and there had to doo with
hir, without anie respect or regard had to his roiall estate
and princelie dignitie. Dunstane latelie before named abbat of
Glastenburie, did not onlie without feare of displeasure reprooue
the K. for such shamefull abusing of his bodie, but also caused the
archbishop of Canturburie to constreine him to forsake that woman whom
vnlawfullie he kept.

[Sidenote: _Iohn Capgrave_.]
There be that write, that there were two women, both mother and
daughter, whome king Edward kept as concubines: for the mother being
of noble parentage, sought to satisfie the kings lust, in hope that
either he would take hir or hir daughter vnto wife. And therefore
perceiuing that Dunstane was sore against such wanton pastime as the
[Sidenote: Dunstane banished the realme.]
king vsed in their companie, she so wrought, that Dunstane was
through hir earnest trauell banished the land. This is also reported,
that when he should depart the realme, the diuell was heard in the
west end of the church, taking vp a great laughter after his roring
[Sidenote: Dunstane séeth not the diuell.]
maner, as though he should shew himselfe glad and ioifull at
Dunstanes going into exile. But Dunstane perceiuing his behauiour,
spake to him, and said: Well thou aduersarie, doo not so greatly
reioise at the matter, for thou dooest not now so much reioise at
my departure, but by Gods grace thou shalt be as sorrowfull for my

[Sidenote: Dunstane departed into exile.]
Thus was Dunstane banished by king Edwine, so that he was compelled
to passe ouer into Flanders, where he remained for a time within
a monasterie at Gant, finding much friendship at the hands of the
gouernor of that countrie. Also the more to wreake his wrath, the
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ Edwine displaceth monks and putteth secular
preists in their roomes.]
king spoiled manie religious houses of their goods, and droue out
the monks, placing secular priests in their roomes, as namelie at
Malmesburie, where yet the house was not empaired, but rather inriched
in lands and ornaments by the kings liberalitie, and the industrious
meanes of the same priests, which tooke vp the bones of saint Aldelme,
[Sidenote: Rebellion raised against king Edwine. _Simon Dun._]
and put the same into a shrine. At length the inhabitants of the
middle part of England, euen from Humber to Thames rebelled against
him, and elected his brother Edgar, to haue the gouernement ouer them,
wherwith king Edwine tooke such griefe, for that he saw no meane at
hand how to remedie the matter, that shortlie after, when he had
[Sidenote: Edwin departeth this life.]
reigned somewhat more than foure yéeres, he died, and his bodie was
buried at Winchester in the new abbeie.

[Sidenote: EDGAR. 959.]
Edgar the second sonne of Edmund late king of England, after the
decease of his elder brother the foresaid Edwine, began his reigne
ouer this realme of England in the yeere of our Lord God 959, in the
22 yéere of the emperour Otho the first, in the fourth yéere of the
reigne of Lotharius king of France, 510 almost ended after the comming
of the Saxons, 124 after the arriuall of the Danes, and in the last
yéere of Malcolme king of Scotland. He was crowned & consecrated
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
at Bath, or (as some say) at Kingstone vpon Thames by Odo the
archbishop of Canturburie, being as then not past 16 yéeres of
age, when he was thus admitted king. He was no lesse indued with
commendable gifts of mind, than with strength and force of bodie.
[Sidenote: Edgar a fauorer of moonks.]
He was a great fauorer of moonks, and speciallie had Dunstane in high
estimation. Aboue all things in this world he regarded peace, and
studied dailie how to preserue the same, to the commoditie and
aduancement of his subiects.

[Sidenote: The diligent prouision of K. Edgar for defense of the realme.]
When he had established things in good quiet, and set an order in
matters as seemed to him best for the peaceable gouernement of his
people, he prepared a great nauie of ships, diuiding them in thrée
parts, he appointed euerie part to a quarter of the realme, to waft
about the coast, that no forren enimie should approch the land, but
that they might be incountered and put backe, before they could take
land. And euerie yéere after Easter, he vsed to giue order, that his
ships should assemble togither in their due places: and then would he
with the east nauie saile to the west parts of his realme, and sending
those ships backe, he would with the west nauie saile into the north
parts; and with the north nauie come backe againe into the east.
This custome he vsed, that he might scowre the seas of all pirats &
theeues. In the winter season and spring time, he would ride through
the prouinces of his realme, searching out how the iudges and great
lords demeaned themselues in the administration of iustice, sharpelie
punishing those that were found guiltie of extortion, or had done
otherwise in anie point than dutie required. In all things he vsed
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
such politike discretion, that neither was he put in danger by
treason of his subiects, nor molested by forren enimies.

He caused diuerse kings to bind themselues by oth to be true and
[Sidenote: Mascutius.]
faithfull vnto him, as Kinadius or rather Induf king of Scotland,
Malcolme king of Cumberland, Mascutius an archpirat, or (as we may
[Sidenote: Kings of Welshmen.]
call him) a maister rouer, and also all the kings of the Welshmen, as
Duffnall, Girffith, Duvall, Iacob, and Iudithill, all which came to
his court, and by their solemne othes receiued, sware to be at his
commandement. And for the more manifest testimonie therof, he
[Sidenote: King Edgar roweth on the water of Dée.]
hauing them with him at Chester, caused them to enter into a barge
vpon the water of Dée, and placing himselfe in the forepart of the
barge, at the helme, he caused those eight high princes to row
the barge vp and downe the water, shewing thereby his princelie
prerogatiue and roial magnificence, in that he might vse the seruice
of so manie kings that were his subiects. And therevpon he said (as
hath bin reported) that then might his successours account themselues
kings of England, when they inioied such prerogatiue of high and
supreme honor.

The fame of this noble prince was spred ouer all, as well on this side
the sea as beyond, insomuch that great resort of strangers chanced in
his daies, which came euer into this land to serue him, and to sée the
state of his court, as Saxons and other, yea and also Danes, which
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ King Edgar fauoureth Danes.]
became verie familiar with him. He fauored in déed the Danes (as hath
béene said) more than stood with the commoditie of his subiects, for
scarse was anie stréet in England, but Danes had their dwelling in the
same among the Englishmen, whereby came great harme: for whereas
[Sidenote: English learned to quaffe of the Danes. _Will Malm._]
the Danes by nature were great drinkers, the Englishmen by continuall
conuersation with them learned the same vice. King Edgar to reforme in
part such excessiue quaffing as then began to grow in vse, caused by
the procurement of Dunstane, nailes to be set in cups of a certeine
measure, marked for the purpose, that none should drinke more than was
assigned by such measured cups. Englishmen also learned of the Saxons,
[Sidenote: Englishmen learne other vices of strangers.]
Flemings, and other strangers, their peculiar kind of vices, as of
the Saxons a disordered fiercenesse of mind, or the Flemings a féeble
tendernesse of bodie: where before they reioised in their owne
simplicitie, and estéemed not the lewd and vnprofitable manners of

Dunstane was made bishop of Worcester, and had also the administration
of the sée of London committed vnto him. He was in such fauor with the
[Sidenote: Ethelwold made bishop of Winchester.]
king, that he ruled most things at his pleasure. Ethelwold, which
being first a moonke of Glastenburie, and after abbat of Abington, was
likewise made bishop of Winchester, and might doo verie much with
[Sidenote: Oswald. Floriacum.]
the king. Also Oswald, which had beene a moonke in the abbeie of
Florie in France, and after was made bishop of Worcester, and from
thence remooued to the sée of Yorke, was highlie in fauor with this
king, so that by these thrée prelates he was most counselled. Iustice
[Sidenote: Moonks must néeds write much in praise of Edgar who had men
of their cote in such estimati[=o].]
in his daies was strictlie obserued, for although he were
courteous and gentle towards his friends, yet was he sharpe and hard
to offenders, so that no person of what estate or degree soeuer he
was escaped worthie punishment, if he did transgresse the lawes and
ordinances of the realme. There was no priuie theefe nor common robber
that durst lay hands vpon other mens goods, but he might looke to make
amends with losse of his life, if he were knowne to be giltie. For how
might men that did offend, thinke to escape his hands, which deuised
waies how to rid the countrie of all wild rauening beasts, that liued
vpon sucking the bloud of others? For as it is said, he appointed
Iudweall or Ludweall king of Wales to present him thrée hundred
[Sidenote: A tribute instituted of woolf-skins.]
woolues yéerelie in name of a tribute, but after thrée yéeres space,
there was not a woolfe to be found, and so that tribute ceased in the
fourth yéere after it began to be paid.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The death of Alfred king Edgars wife (or concubine) causeth him to
fall into a fowle offense, an example teaching men to take heed how
they put others in trust to woo for them; earle Ethelwold cooseneth
the king of his wife, the danger of beholding a womans beautie with
lustfull eies; king Edgar killeth earle Ethelwold to marrie faire
Alfred his wife; the bloudie and unnaturall speach of Ethelwolds base
sonne: examples of king Edgars great incontinencie and lewd life;
Dunstane putteth the king to penance for his vnchastitie, the Welshmen
rebell against him and are corrected, king Edgars vision before his
death, of what religious buildings he was founder, his example a spur
to others to doo the like, moonks esteemed and secular priests little
regarded, king Edgars deformed reformation, his vices, stature, and
bodilie qualities, he offereth to fight hand to hand with Kinadius
king of Scots vpon occasion of words euill taken, Kinadius submitteth
himselfe and is pardoned; his wiues and children, the good state of
the realme in king Edgars time, the amplenesse of his dominions._


[Sidenote: _Osborne_ and _Capgraue_ hold that she was not his wife but
a nun.]
In this meane time, Alfred the wife of king Edgar (as some say) or
rather (as others write) his concubine died, of whome he had begot a
sonne named Edward. The death of this woman caused the king to commit
an heinous offense. For albeit at the same time the fame went,
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ Horger.]
that Horgerius duke of Cornewall, or rather Deuonshire, had a daughter
named Alfred, a damosell of excellent beautie, whome Edgar minding
to haue in mariage, appointed one of his noble men called earle
Ethelwold, to go with all speed into Cornewall or Deuonshire, to sée
if the yoong ladies beautie answered the report that went of hir, and
so to breake the matter to hir father in his behalfe: yet Ethelwold
being a yong iollie gentleman, tooke his iournie into Cornewall,
and comming to the duke, was well receiued, and had a sight of his
daughter, with whose beautie he was streight rauished so far in loue,
[Sidenote: Erle Ethelwold deceiueth the king of his wife.]
that not regarding the kings pleasure, who had sent him thither,
he began to purchase the good will of both father and daughter for
himselfe, and did so much that he obteined the same in déed. Herevpon
returning to the king, he informed him that the damosell was not of
such beautie and comelie personage, as might be thought woorthie to
match in mariage with his maiestie.

Shortlie after perceiuing the kings mind by his wrongfull misreport to
be turned, and nothing bent that way, he began to sue to him that he
might with his fauour marie the same damosell: which the king granted,
as one that cared not for hir, bicause of the credit which he gaue to
Ethelwolds words. And so by this meanes Ethelwold obteined Alfred in
mariage, which was to his owne destruction, as the case fell out. For
when the fame of hir passing beautie did spread ouer all the realme,
now that she was maried and came more abroad in sight of the people,
the king chanced to heare thereof, and desirous to sée hir, deuised
vnder colour of hunting to come vnto the house of Ethelwold, and so
did: where he had no sooner set his eie vpon hir, but he was so farre
[Sidenote: King Edgar séeketh the destruction of earle Ethelwold.]
wrapped in the chaine of burning concupiscence, that to obteine
his purpose, he shortlie after contriued Ethelwolds death, and maried
his wife.

Some say, that the woman kindled the brand of purpose: for when it was
knowne, that the king would sée hir, Ethelwold willed hir in no wise
to trim vp hir selfe, but rather to disfigure hir in fowle garments,
and some euil fauored attire, that hir natiue beautie should not
appeare: but she perceiuing how the matter went, of spite set out hir
selfe to the vttermost, so that the king vpon the first sight of hir,
became so farre inamored of hir beautie, that taking hir husband
[Sidenote: King Edgar a murtherer.]
foorth with him on hunting into a forrest or wood then called
Warlewood, & after Horewood, not shewing that he meant him anie hurt,
till at length he had got him within the thicke of the wood, where he
suddenlie stroke him through with his dart. Now as his bastard son
came to the place, the king asked him how he liked the maner of
hunting, wherto he answered; "Verie well if it like your grace, for
that that liketh you, ought not to displease me." With which answer
the king was so pacified, that he indeuored by pretending his fauor
towards the sonne, to extenuat the tyrannicall murther of the father.
Then did the king marie the countesse Alfred, and of hir begat two
sonnes, Edmund which died yoong, and Etheldred or Egelred.

Besides this cruell act wrought by king Edgar, for the satisfieng of
his fleshlie lust, he also plaied another part greatlie to the staine
of his honor, mooued also by wanton loue, with a yoong damosell named
Wilfrid, for after that she had (to auoid the danger of him) either
professed hir selfe a nun, or else for colour (as the most part of
writers agrée) got hirselfe into a nunrie, and clad hir in a nuns
wéed, he tooke hir foorth of hir cloister, and lay by hir sundrie
times, and begat on hir a daughter named Edith, who comming to
[Sidenote: His licentious life & incontinencie.]
conuenient age, was made a nun. A third example of his incontinencie
is written by authors, and that is this. It chanced on a time that he
lodged one night at Andeuer, and hauing a mind to a lords daughter
there, he commanded that she should bee brought to his bed. But the
mother of the gentlewoman would not that hir daughter should be
defloured: and therefore in the darke of the night brought one of hir
maidseruants, and laid hir in the kings bed, she being both faire,
proper, and pleasant.

In the morning when the day began to appeare, she made hast to arise:
and being asked of the king why she so hasted; That I may go to my
daies worke if it please your grace (quoth she.) Herewith she being
staied by the king, as it were against hir will, she fell downe on hir
knées, and required of him that she might be made frée, in guerdon of
hir nights worke. For (saith she) it is not for your honor, that the
woman which hath tasted the pleasure of the kings bodie should anie
more suffer seruitude vnder the rule and appointment of a sharpe and
rough mistresse.

The king then being mooued in his spirits, laughed at the matter,
though not from the heart, as he that tooke great indignation at the
dooings of the dutchesse, and pitied the case of the poore wench. But
yet in fine (turning earnest to a iest) he pardoned all the parties,
and aduanced the wench to high honor, farre aboue those that had rule
of hir afore, so that she ruled them (willed they nilled they:) for he
vsed hir as his paramour, till he maried the foresaid Alfred.

For these youthfull parts, & namelie for the rauishing of Wilfride
(which though she were no nun, yet the offense seemed heinous, for
[Sidenote: Note the déep hypocrisie of Dunstane.]
that he should not once touch anie woman shadowed vnder that
habit) he greatlie displeased Dunstane, so that by him he was put to
his seuen yéeres penance, and kept from the crowne till the 12 yeere
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ _Fabian_ out of _Guido de Cobeman_. _Wil. Malm._]
of his reigne or more. For some write that he was not crowned nor
annointed king, till the 30 yéere of his age, which should be about
the 13 or 14 yeere of his reigne by that account, sith he entred into
the rule of the kingdome about the 16 yeere of his age. In déed one
author witnesseth, that he was consecrated at Bath on a Whitsunday,
the 13 yéere of his reigne, and that by Dunstane archbishop of
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ _Ranul. Hig._]
Canturburie, and Oswold archbishop of Yorke. But some which suppose
that he was consecrated king immediatlie vpon the death of Edridus,
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
affirme that he was crowned and annointed king by the archbishop
Odo, Dunstane as then remaining in exile, from whence he was
immediatlie reuoked by Edgar, and first made bishop of Worcester (as
hath beene said) and after the decease of Odo was aduanced to be
archbishop of Canturburie. But by some writers it appeareth, that
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ _Simon Dun._]
Dunstane was reuoked out of exile immediatlie vpon partition of the
realme betwixt Edwin and Edgar, which chanced in the yéere 957, by the
rebellion of the people of Mercia, & others (as before ye haue heard:)
and that in the yéere following the archbishop Odo died, after whome
succéeded Alfin bishop of Winchester, who also died the same yéere
that king Edward deceassed, as he went to fetch his pall from Rome,
and then Brighthelme bishop of Dorchester was elected archbishop. But
bicause he was not able to discharge so great an office, by K. Edgars
commandement he was forced to giue place to Dunstane.

[Sidenote: _Fabian_. _Ran. Higd._ The Welshmen rebel and are chastised.]
Toward the latter end of king Edgars daies, the Welshmen mooued
some rebellion against him. Wherevpon he assembled an armie, and
entering the countrie of Glamorgan, did much hurt in the same,
chastising the inhabitants verie sharpelie for their rebellious
attempts. Amongst other spoiles taken in those parties at that time by
the men of war, the bell of saint Ellutus was taken away, and hanged
about a horsses necke, and (as hath béene reported) in the after
noone, it chanced that king Edgar laid him downe to rest, wherevpon in
sleepe there appeared one vnto him, and smote him on the breast with a
speare. By reason of which vision he caused all things that had beene
taken away to be restored againe. But within nine daies after the
[Sidenote: _Will Malmes._ King Edgar departeth this life.]
king died. Whether anie such thing chanced, or that he had anie such
vision it forceth not. But truth it is, that in the 37 yeere of his
age, after he had reigned 16 yéeres and two moneths he departed this
life, the 8 day of Iulie, and was buried at Glastenburie.

[Sidenote: Wherefore Edgar is praised of some writers.]
This Edgar is highlie renowmed of writers for such princelie
qualities as appeared in him, but chieflie for that he was so
beneficiall to the church, namelie to moonks, the aduancement of whome
he greatlie sought, both in building abbeies new from the ground, in
reparing those that were decaied: also by inriching them with great
reuenues, and in conuerting collegiat churches into monasteries,
remoouing secular priests, and bringing in moonks in their places.
There passed no one yéere of his reigne, wherin he founded not one
abbeie or other. The abbeie of Glastenburie which his father had begun
he finished. The abbeie of Abington also he accomplished and set in
good order. The abbeies of Peterborough & Thornie he established. The
nunrie of Wilton he founded and richlie endowed, where his daughter
Editha was professed, and at length became abbesse there. To be
briefe, he builded (as the chronicles record) to the number of 40
[Sidenote: _Fabian_. _Ran. Higd._ _Hen. Hunt._]
abbeies and monasteries, in some of which he placed moonks, and in
some nuns. By his example in those daies, other nobles, as also
prelates, & some of the laitie, did begin the foundation of sundrie
abbeies and monasteries: as Adelwold bishop of Winchester builded
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
the abbeie of Elie, and (as some say) Peterborough & Thornie, though
they were established by the king (as before is mentioned.) Also earle
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
Ailewin, at the exhortation of the same bishop Adelwold, builded
the abbeie of Ramsey, though some attribute the dooing thereof vnto
Oswald the archbishop of Yorke, and some to king Edward the elder.

[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ Moonks esteemed & secular priests little
To conclude, the religious orders of moonks and nuns in these
daies florished, and the state of secular priests was smallie
regarded, insomuch that they were constreined to auoid out of diuerse
colleges, and to leaue the same vnto moonks, as at Worcester and
Winchester, wherein the new monasterie, bicause the kings liued not in
such sort as was then thought requisite, the prebends were taken
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ _lib. 6 cap. 9_]
from them and giuen to vicars. But when the vicars were thought to vse
themselues no better, but rather worse than the other before them,
they were likewise put out, and moonks placed in their roomes
by authoritie of pope John the 13. This reformation, or rather
deformation was vsed by king Edgar in many other places of the realme.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ _Ran. Higd._ _Tho. Eliot_.]
He was (as appeareth by diuers writers) namelie in his beginning,
cruell against his owne people, and wanton in lusting after yoong
women (as you haue heard before.) Of stature & proportion of bodie
[Sidenote: Edgar small of stature but strong and hardie.]
he was but small and low, but yet nature had inclosed within so little
a personage such strength, that he durst incounter and combat with him
that was thought most strong, onelie doubting this, least he which
should haue to doo with him should stand in feare of him. And as it
chanced at a great feast (where oftentimes men vse their toongs more
[Sidenote: Kenneth king of Scots.]
liberallie than néedeth) Kenneth the king of Scots cast out
certeine words in this maner: "It may (saith hée) séeme a maruell that
so manie countries and prouinces should be subiect to such a little
sillie bodie as Edgar is." These words being borne awaie by a iester
or minstrell, and afterwards vttered to Edgar with great reproch,
he wiselie dissembled the matter for a time, although he kept the
remembrance thereof inclosed within his breast: and vpon occasion, at
length feigned to go on hunting, taking the king of Scots forth with
him: and hauing caused one of his seruants to conuey two swords into a
place within the forrest by him appointed in secret wise, of purpose
he withdrew from the residue of his companie, and there accompanied
onelie with the Scotish king, came to the place where the swords were
[Sidenote: The noble courage of king Edgar.]
laid; and there taking the one of them, deliuered the other to the
Scotish king, willing him now to assaie his strength, that they might
shew by proofe whether of them ought to be subiect to the other;
"Start not, but trie it with me (saith he:) for it is a shame for a
king to be full of brags at bankets, and not to be readie to fight
when triall should be made abroad." The Scotish king herewith being
astonied and maruellouslie abashed, fell downe at his féet, and with
much humilitie confessed his fault, & desired pardon for the same,
which vpon such his humble submission king Edward easilie granted.

This noble prince had two wiues, Egelfrida or Elfrida, surnamed the
white, the daughter of a mightie duke named Ordiner, by whome he had
issue a sonne named Edward that succéeded him. His second wife was
called Alfreda the daughter of Orgar duke of Deuon or Cornewall (as
some saie) by whome he had issue Edmund that died before his father,
and Egelred which afterwards was king. Also he had issue a base
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
daughter named Editha, begotten of his concubine Wilfrid (as
before ye haue heard.) The state of the realme in king Edgars daies
was in good point, for both the earth gaue hir increase verie
plentiouslie, the elements shewed themselues verie fauorable,
according to the course of times: peace was mainteined, and no
inuasion by forraine enimies attempted. For Edgar had not onelie
all the whole Ile of Britaine in subiection, but also was ruler &
souereigne lord ouer all the kings of the out Iles that lie within
the seas about all the coasts of the same Britaine euen vnto the
[Sidenote: Ireland subiect to king Edgar.]
realme of Norwaie. He brought also a great part of Ireland vnder his
subiection, with the citie of Dublin, as by authentike recordes it
dooth and may appeare.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Contention amongest the peeres and states about succession to the
crowne, the moonkes remoued and the canons and secular priests
restored by Alfer duke of Mercia and his adherents, a blasing starre
with the euents insuing the same, the rood of Winchester speaketh, a
prettie shift of moonks to defeat the priests of their possessions,
the controuersie betwene the moonks and the priests ended by a
miracle of archbishop Dunstane, great hope that Edward would tread his
fathers steps, the reuerent loue he bare his stepmother queene Alfred
and hir sonne Egelred, hir diuelish purpose to murther Edward hir
step-sonne accomplished, his obscure funerall in respect of pompe,
but famous by meanes of miracles wrought by and about his sepulture,
queene Alfred repenting hir of the said prepensed murther, dooth
penance, and imploieth hir substance in good woorkes as satisfactorie
for hir sinnes, king Edwards bodie remoued, and solemnlie buried by
Alfer duke of Mercia, who was eaten up with lice for being against the
said Edwards aduancement to the crowne, queene Alfreds offense by no
meanes excusable._


[Sidenote: EDWARD.]
After the deceasse of king Edgar, there was some strife and
[Sidenote: Some write that the father king Edgar appointed Edward to
succeed him. _Simon Dun._ _Iohn Capg._]
contention amongst the lords & péeres of the realme about the
succession of the crowne: for Alfred the mother of Egelredus or
Ethelredus, and diuers other of hir opinion, would gladlie haue
aduanced the same Egelredus to the rule: but the archbishop Dunstan
taking in his hands the baner of the crucifix, presented his elder
brother Edward vnto the lords as they were assembled togither, and
there pronounced him king, notwithstanding that both queene Alfred and
hir friends, namelie Alfer the duke of Mercia were sore against him,
especiallie for that he was begot in vnlawfull bed of Elfleda the nun,
for which offense he did seuen yeares penance, and not for lieng with
Wilfrid (as maister Fox thinketh.) But Dunstane iudging (as is to be
[Sidenote: Alfer duke of Mercia and other immediately upon Edgars
death before the crowne was established, renounced the moonks and
restored the canons. _Simon Dun._]
thought) that Edward was more fit for their behoofe to continue
the world in the former course as Edgar had left it, than his brother
Egelred (whose mother and such as tooke part with hir vnder hir sonnes
authoritie were likelie inough to turne all vpside downe) vsed the
matter so, that with helpe of Oswald the archbishop of Yorke, and
other bishops, abbats, and certeine of the nobilitie, as the earle of
Essex and such like, he preuailed in his purpose, so that (as before
is said) the said Edward, being the second of that name which gouerned
this land before the conquest, was admitted king, and began his reigne
ouer England in the yeare of our Lord 975, in the third yeare of
[Sidenote: 975.]
the emperour Otho the second, in the 20 yeare of the reigne of Lothar
king of France, and about the fourth yeare of Cumelerne king of
Scotland. He was consecrated by archb. Dunstane at Kingston vpon
Thames, to the great griefe of his mother in law Alfred and hir
friends. ¶ About the beginning of his reigne a blasing starre was
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
seene, signifieng (as was thought) the miserable haps that
followed. And first there insued barrennesse of ground, and thereby
famine amongest the people, and morraine of cattell.

[Sidenote: Alfer or Elfer, duke of Mercia.]
Also duke Alfer or Elfer of Mercia, and other noble men destroyed
the abbies which king Edgar and bishop Adelwold had builded within the
limits of Mercia. The priests or canons, which had béene expelled in
Edgars time out of the prebends and benefices, began to complaine of
the wrongs that were doone to them, in that they had beene put out of
possession from their liuings, alleging it to be a great offense
and miserable case, that a stranger should come and remoue an old
inhabitant, for such maner of dooing could not please God, not yet be
allowed of anie good man, which ought of reason to doubt least the
same should hap to him which he might sée to haue béene another mans
vndooing. About this matter was hard hold, for manie of the temporall
lords, and namelie the same Alfer, iudged that the priests had
[Sidenote: _Iohn Capg._ _Wil. Malm._ _Ran. Higd._ _Matt. West._
_Simon Dun._]
wrong. In so much that they remoued the moonks out of their places,
and brought into the monasteries secular priests with their wiues. But
Edelwin duke of the Eastangles, & Alfred his brother, with Brightnoth
or Brightnode earle of Essex, withstood this dooing, & gathering an
armie, with great valiancie mainteined the moonks in their houses,
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
within the countrie of Eastangles. Herevpon were councels holden,
as at Winchester, at Kirthling in Eastangle, and at Calne.

[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
At Winchester, when the matter was brought to that passe that the
priests were like to haue had their purpose, an image of the rood that
stood there in the refectorie where they sat in councell, vttered
[Sidenote: A pretie shift of the moonks to disappoint the priests.
certeine woords in this wise; God forbid it should be so, God forbid
it should be so: ye iudged well once, but ye may not change well
againe. As though (saith Polydor Virgil) the moonks had more right,
which had bereft other men of their possessions, than the priests
which required restitution of their owne. But (saith he) bicause the
image of Christ hanging on the crosse was thought to speake these
words, such credit was giuen thereto, as it had béene an oracle, that
the priests had their sute dashed, and all the trouble was ceassed. So
the moonks held those possessions, howsoeuer they came to them, by the
helpe of God, or rather (as saith the same Polydor) by the helpe of
man. For there were euen then diuers that thought this to be rather an
oracle of Phebus than of God, that is to say, not published by Gods
power, but by the fraud and craftie deceit of men.

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
The matter therefore was not so quieted, but that vpon new trouble
an other councell was had at a manour house belonging to the king,
called Calne, where they that were appointed to haue the hearing of
the matter, sat in an vpper loft. The king by reason of his yoong
yéeres was spared, so that he came not there. Héere as they were
busied in arguing the matter, either part laieng for himselfe what
could be said, Dunstane was sore reuiled, and had sundrie reproches
laid against him: but suddenlie euen in the verie heat of their
communication, the ioists of the loft failed, and downe came all the
companie, so that manie were slaine and hurt, but Dunstane alone
[Sidenote: Dunstane by woorking miracles had his will, when
arguments failed.]
standing vpon one of the ioists that fell not, escaped safe and sound.
And so this miracle with the other made an end of the controuersie
betwéene the priests and moonks, all the English people following the
mind of the archbishop Dunstane, who by meanes thereof had his will.

In this meane while, king Edward ruling himselfe by good counsell of
such as were thought discréet and sage persons, gaue great hope to the
world that he would walke in his fathers vertuous steps, as alreadie
he well began, and bearing alwaie a reuerence to his mother in law,
[Sidenote: _Polydor_. _Will. Malms._]
and a brotherlie loue to hir sonne Egelred, vsed himselfe as
became him towards them both. Afterward by chance as he was hunting in
a foruest néere the castell of Corfe, where his mother in law and his
brother the said Egelred then soiourned, when all his companie were
spred abroad in following the game, so that he was left alone, he
[Sidenote: The wicked purpose of quéene Alfred.]
tooke the waie streight vnto his mother in lawes house, to visit
hir and his brother. The quéene hearing that he was come, was verie
glad thereof, for that she had occasion offered to woorke that which
she had of long time before imagined, that was, to slea the king hir
sonne in law, that hir owne sonne might inioy the garland. Wherefore
she required him to alight, which he in no wise would yéeld vnto, but
said that he had stolne from his companie, and was onelie come to see
hir and his brother, and to drinke with them, and therefore would
returne to the forrest againe to sée some more sport.

[Sidenote: The shameful murther of K. Edward.]
The queene perceiuing that he would not alight, caused drinke to
be fetched, and as he had the cup at his mouth, by hir appointment,
one of hir seruants stroke him into the bodie with a knife, wherevpon
féeling himselfe wounded, he set spurres to the horsse thinking to
gallop awaie, and so to get to his companie. But being hurt to the
death, he fell from his horsse, so as one of his féet was fastened in
the stirrup, by reason whereof his horsse drew him foorth through
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ _Fabian_. _Sim. Dun._ _Wil. Malm._]
woods and launds, & the bloud which gushed out of the wound shewed
token of his death to such as followed him, and the waie to the place
where the horsse had left him. That place was called Corphes gate or
Corfes gate. His bodie being found was buried without anie solemne
funeralls at Warham. For they which enuied that he should inioy the
crowne, enuied also the buriall of his bodie within the church: but
the memorie of his fame could not so secretlie be buried with the
bodie, as they imagined. For sundrie miracles shewed at the place
where his bodie was interred, made the same famous (as diuerse haue
[Sidenote: Miracles.]
reported) for there was sight restored to the blind, health to the
sicke, and hearing to the deafe, which are easilier to be told than

Queene Alfred also would haue ridden to the place where he laie,
mooued with repentance (as hath beene said) but the horsse wherevpon
she rode would not come neere the graue, for anie thing that could be
doone to him. Neither by changing the said horsse could the matter
be holpen: for euen the same thing happened to the other horsses.
Heerevpon the woman perceiued hir great offense towards God for
murthering the innocent, and did so repent hir afterward for the same,
that besides the chastising of hir bodie in fasting, and other
[Sidenote: Building of abbeies in those daies was thought to be a full
satisfaction for all manner of sinnes.]
kind of penance, she imploied all hir substance and patrimonie on the
poore, and in building and reparing of churches and monasteries. She
founded two houses of nuns (as is said) the one at Warwell, the other
at Ambresburie, and finallie professed hirselfe a nun in one of them,
that is to say, at Warwell, which house she builded (as some affirme)
in remembrance of hir first husband that was slaine there by king
Edgar for hir sake (as before is mentioned.)

The bodie of this Edward the second, and surnamed the martyr, after
that it had remained thrée yéeres at Warham where it was first buried,
was remooued vnto Shaftesburie, and with great reuerence buried
[Sidenote: Elferus.]
there by the forenamed Alfer or Elfer, duke of Mercia, who also did
sore repent himselfe, in that he had beene against the aduancement of
the said king Edward (as ye haue heard.) But yet did not he escape
woorthie punishment: for within one yéere after, he was eaten to
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
death with lice (if the historie be true.) King Edward came to his
[Sidenote: _Will. Malmes._]
death after he had reigned thrée yéeres, or (as other write) thrée
yéeres and eight moneths. ¶ Whatsoeuer hath béene reported by writers
of the murther committed on the person of this king Edward, sure it
is that if he were base begotten (as by writers of no meane credit it
should appéere he was in déed) great occasion vndoubtedlie was giuen
vnto quéene Alfred to seeke reuenge for the wrongfull keeping backe
of hir son Egelred from his rightfull succession to the crowne: but
whether that Edward was legitimate or not, she might yet haue deuised
some other lawfull meane to haue come by hir purpose, and not so to
haue procured the murther of the young prince in such vnlawfull
maner. For hir dooing therein can neither be woorthilie allowed, nor
throughlie excused, although those that occasioned the mischiefe by
aduancing hir stepsonne to an other mans right, deserued most blame in
this matter.

_Thus farre the sixt booke comprising the first arriuall of the Danes
in this land, which was in king Britricus his reigne, pag. 652, at
which time the most miserable state of England tooke beginning._

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