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Title: Chronicles (1 of 6): The Historie of England (7 of 8) - The Seventh Boke of the Historie of England
Author: Holinshed, Raphael
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *

_Egelred succeedeth Edward the martyr in the kingdoms of England, the
decaie of the realme in his reigne, Dunstane refusing to consecrate
him is therevnto inforced, Dunstans prophesies of the English people
and Egelred their king, his slouth and idlenes accompanied with other
vices, the Danes arriue on the coasts of Kent and make spoile of manie
places; warre betwixt the king and the bishop of Rochester, archbishop
Dunstans bitter denunciation against the king because he would not
be pacified with the bishop of Rochester without moneie; Dunstans
parentage, his strange trance, and what a woonderfull thing he did
during the time it lasted, his education and bringing vp, with what
good qualities he was indued, an incredible tale of his harpe, how
he was reuoked from louing and lusting after women whereto he was
addicted, his terrible dreame of a rough beare, what preferments he
obteined by his skill in the expounding of dreames_.


[Sidenote: EGELRED.]
In the former booke was discoursed the troubled state of this land
by the manifold and mutinous inuasions of the Danes; who though they
sought to ingrosse the rule of euerie part and parcell therof into
their hands; yet being resisted by the valiantnesse of the gouernors
supported with the aid of their people, they were disappointed of
their expectation, and receiued manie a dishonorable or rather
reprochfull repulse at their aduersaries hands. Much mischiefe
doubtlesse they did, and more had doone, if they had not béene met
withall in like measure of extremitie as they offred, to the offense
and ouerthrow of great multitudes. Their first entrance into this land
is controuersed among writers, some saieng that it was in the daies of
king Britricus, other some affirming that it was in the time of king
Egbert, &c: about which point (sith it is a matter of no great moment)
we count it labour lost to vse manie woords: onelie this by the waie
is notewoorthie, that the Danes had an vnperfect or rather a lame and
limping rule in this land, so long as the gouernors were watchfull,
diligent, politike at home, and warlike abroad. But when these kind of
kings discontinued, and that the raines of the regiment fell into
the hands of a pezzant not a puissant prince, a man euill qualified,
dissolute, slacke and licentious, not regarding the dignitie of his
owne person, nor fauoring the good estate of the people; the Danes who
before were coursed from coast to coast, and pursued from place to
place, as more willing to leaue the land, than desirous to tarrie in
the same; tooke occasion of stomach and courage to reenter this Ile, &
waxing more bold and confident, more desperate and venturous, spared
no force, omitted no opportunitie, let slip no aduantage that they
might possiblie take, to put in practise and fullie to accomplish
their long conceiued purpose.

Now bicause the Danes in the former kings daies were reencountred (and
that renowmedlie) so often as they did encounter, and séeking the
totall regiment, were dispossessed of their partile principalitie,
which by warlike violence they obteined; and for that the Saxons were
interessed in the land, and these but violent incrochers, vnable
to kéepe that which they came to by constreint; we haue thought it
conuenient to comprise the troubled estate of that time in the sixt
booke; the rather for the necessarie consequence of matters then in
motion: and héere déeme it not amisse, at so great and shamefull
loosenesse (speciallie in a prince) ministring hart and courage to the
enimie, to begin the seuenth booke. Wherin is expressed the chiefest
time of their flourishing estate in this land; if in tumults, vprores,
battels, and bloudshed, such a kind of estate may possiblie be
found. For héere the Danes lord it, heere they take vpon them like
souereignes, & héere (if at anie time they had absolute authoritie)
they did what they might in the highest degrée: as shall be declared
in the vnfortunate affaires of vngratious Egelred or Etheldred, the
sonne of king Edgar, and of his last wife queene Alfred, who was
ordeined king in place of his brother Edward, after the same Edward
was dispatched out of the waie, and began his reigne ouer this
[Sidenote: 979. _Simon Dun._]
realme of England, in the yéere of our Lord 979, which was in the
seuenth yéere of the emperor Otho the second, in the 24 of Lothaire K.
of France, and about the second or third yeere of Kenneth the third
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
of that name king of Scotland.

This Egelred or Etheldred was the 30 in number from Cerdicus the first
king of the Westsaxons: through his negligent gouernment, the state of
the commonwealth fell into such decaie (as writers doo report) that
vnder him it may be said, how the kingdome was come to the vttermost
point or period of old and féeble age, which is the next degrée to the
graue. For wheras, whilest the realme was diuided at the first by
the Saxons into sundrie dominions, it grew at length (as it were
increasing from youthfull yeeres) to one absolute monarchie, which
passed vnder the late remembred princes, Egbert, Adelstane, Edgar, and
others, so that in their daies it might be said, how it was growne to
mans state, but now vnder this Egelred, through famine, pestilence,
and warres, the state thereof was so shaken, turned vpside downe, and
weakened on ech part, that rightlie might the season be likened vnto
the old broken yéeres of mans life, which through féeblenesse is not
able to helpe it selfe. Dunstane archbishop of Canturburie was thought
to haue foreséene this thing, and therfore refused to annoint Egelred
king, which by the murther of his brother should atteine to the
gouernment: but at length he was compelled vnto it, and so he
consecrated him at Kingston vpon Thames, as the maner then was, on
the 24 day of Aprill, assisted by Oswald archbishop of Yorke, and ten
other bishops.

[Sidenote: _Will. Malmes._]
But (as hath béene reported) Dunstane then said that the English
people should suffer condigne punishment generallie, with losse of
ancient liberties, which before that time they had inioied. Dunstane
also long before prophesied of the slouthfulnesse that should remaine
in this Egelred. For at what time he ministred the sacrament of
baptisme to him; shortlie after he came into this world, he defiled
the font with the ordure of his wombe (as hath beene said:) whervpon
Dunstane being troubled in mind, "By the Lord (saith he) and his
blessed mother, this child shall prooue to be a slouthfull person." It
hath beene written also, that when he was but ten yeeres of age, and
heard that his brother Edward was slaine, he so offended his mother
with wéeping, bicause she could not still him, that hauing no rod at
hand, she tooke tapers or sizes that stood before hir, and beat him so
sore with them, that she had almost killed him, whereby he could neuer
after abide to haue anie such candels lighted before him.

[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
This Egelred (as writers say) was nothing giuen to warlike
enterprises, but was slouthfull, a louer of idlenesse, and delighting
in riotous lusts, which being knowne to all men, caused him to be
euill spoken of amongst his owne people, and nothing feared amongst
strangers. Heerevpon the Danes that exercised rouing on the seas,
began to conceiue a boldnesse of courage to disquiet and molest the
sea-coasts of the realme, in so much that in the second yéere of
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._ 980.]
this Egelreds reigne, they came with seuen ships on the English coasts
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
of Kent, and spoiled the Ile of Tenet, the towne of Southampton,
and in the yeere following they destroied S. Petroks abbeie in
Cornwall, Porthland in Deuonshire, and diuerse other places by the
sea side, speciallie in Deuonshire & Cornwall. Also a great part of
Cheshire was destroied by pirats of Norway.

[Sidenote: 982.]
The same yéere by casualtie of fire, a great part of the citie
[Sidenote: 983. Alfer or Elfer duke of Mercia departed this life.]
of London was burnt. In the yeere of our Lord 983, Alfer duke of
Mercia departed this life, who was coosen to king Edgar, & his
[Sidenote: Alfrike or Elfrike duke of Mercia. _Fabian_. _Wil. Malm._
_Matt. West._]
sonne Alfrike tooke vpon him the rule of that dukedome, and within
thrée yéeres after was banished the land. About the eight yéere of
his reigne, Egelred maried one Elgina or Ethelgina, daughter of earle
Egbert. In the ninth yeere of his reigne, vpon occasion of strife
betwéene him and the bishop of Rochester, he made warre against
the same bishop, wasted his lordships, and besieged the citie of
Rochester, till Dunstan procured the bishops peace with paiment of an
hundred pounds in gold. And bicause the K. would not agrée with the
bishop without moneie at the onelie request of Dunstane, the said
Dunstane did send him woord, that sithens he made more account of gold
than of God, more of monie than of S. Andrew, patrone of the church of
Rochester, and more of couetousnesse than of him being the archbishop,
the mischiefs which the Lord had threatned would shortlie fall and
come to passe, but the same should not chance whilest he was aliue,
who died in the yéere following, on the 25 of Maie, being saturdaie.

[Sidenote: _Vita Dunstani._]
Of this Dunstane manie things are recorded by writers, that
he should be of such holinesse and vertue, that God wrought manie
miracles by him, both whilest he liued heere on earth, and also
[Sidenote: _Iohn Capgr._ _Osborne_. _Ran. Higd._]
after his deceasse. He was borne in Westsaxon, his father was named
Heorstan, and his mother Cinifride, who in his youth set him to
schoole, where he so profited, that he excelled all his equals in age.
Afterward he fell sicke of an ague, which vexed him so sore that it
draue him into a frensie: and therefore his parents appointed him to
the cure and charge of a certeine woman, where his disease grew so on
him, that he fell in a trance, as though he had béene dead, and after
that he suddenlie arose, & by chance caught a staffe in his hand, and
ran vp and downe through hils and dales, and laid about him as though
he had béene afraid of mad dogs. The next night (as it is said) he gat
him to the top of the church (by the helpe of certeine ladders that
stood there for woorkemen to mend the roofe) and there ran vp and
downe verie dangerouslie, but in the end came safelie downe, and laid
him to sléepe betwéene two men that watched the church that night, &
when he awaked, he maruelled how he came there. Finallie, recouering
his disease, his parents made him a priest, and placed him in the
abbeie of Glastenburie, where he gaue himselfe to the reading of
scriptures and knowledge of vertue. But as well his kinsmen as
certeine other did raise a report of him, that he gaue not himselfe
so much to the reading of scriptures, as to charming, coniuring and
sorcerie, which he vtterlie denied: howbeit learned he was in déed, &
could doo manie pretie things both in handie woorke and other deuises:
he had good skill in musicke and delighted much therein. At length he
grew in such fauour, that he was aduanced into the seruice of king

Vpon a time, as he came to a gentlewomans house with his harpe, and
hoong the same on the wall, while he shaped a priests stole, the harpe
suddenlie began to plaie a psalme, which draue the whole houshold in
such feare, that they ran out and said, he was too cunning, and knew
more than was expedient: wherevpon he was accused of necromancie, and
so banished out of the court. After this he began to haue a liking to
women, and when Elfeagus then bishop of Winchester and his coosen,
persuaded him to become a moonke, he refused it, for he rather wished
to haue maried a yoong damesell, whose pleasant companie he dailie
inioied. But being soone after striken with such a swelling disease in
his bellie, that all his bodie was brought into such state, as though
he had béene infected with a foule leprosie, he bethought him selfe,
and vpon his recouerie sent to the bishop, who immediatlie shore him a
moonke, in which life he liued in so great opinion of holinesse, as he
in time became abbat of Glastenburie: where on a time as he was in his
praiers before the altar of S. George, he fell asléepe: and imagining
in his dreame, that an vglie rough beare came towards him with open
mouth, and set his forefeet vpon his shoulders readie to deuoure him,
he suddenlie wakening for feare, caught his walking staffe which he
commonlie went with, and laid about him, that all the church rang
[Sidenote: _Polychron._]
thereof, to the great woonder of such as stood by. The common tale
of his plucking the diuell by the nose with a paire of pinsors, for
tempting him with women, while he was making a chalice: the great loue
that the ladie Elfleda néere kinswoman to king Adelstane bare him to
hir dieng day, with a great manie of other such like matters, I leaue
as friuolous, and wholie impertinent to our purpose: onelie this I
read, that through declaring of his dreames and visions, he obteined
in the time of king Edgar, first the bishoprike of Worcester, after of
London, & last of all the archbishoprike of Canturburie. But leauing
Dunstane and the fond deuises depending vpon the commemoration of his
life, we will now returne to the dooings of Egelred, and speake of
such things in the next chapter as chanced in his time.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Danes inuade England on each side, they are vanquished by the
English, Goda earle of Deuonshire slaine; the Danes in a battell
fought at Maldon kill Brightnod earle of Essex and the most of his
armie, ten thousand pounds paid to them by composition that they
should not trouble the English subjects, they cease their crueltie
for a time, but within a while after fall to their bloudie bias, the
English people despaire to resist them, Egelred addresseth a nauie
against the Danes vnder the erles Alfrike and Turold, Alfrike
traitorouslie taketh part with the Danes, his ship and souldiers are
taken, his sonne Algar is punished for his fathers offense, the Danes
make great wast in many parts of this Iland, they besiege London and
are repelled with dishonor, they driue king Egelred to buy peace
of them for _16000 _pounds; Aulafe king of Norwey is honorablie
interteined of Egelred, to whome he promiseth at his baptisme neuer
to make warre against England, the great zeale of people in setting
forward the building of Durham towne and the minster_.


[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ _Matt. Westm._ The Danes inuade this land.]
Shortlie after the decease of Dunstane, the Danes inuaded this
realme on each side, wasting and spoiling the countrie in most
miserable wise. They arriued in so manie places at once, that the
Englishmen could not well deuise whither to go to encounter first with
[Sidenote: _Alias_ Wecederport. _H. Hunt._ _Simon Dun._]
them. Some of them spoiled a place or towne called Wichport, and
from thence passing further into the countrie, were met with by the
Englishmen, who giuing them battell, lost their capteine Goda: but yet
they got the victorie, and beat the Danes out of the field, and so
[Sidenote: Danes vanquished. _Simon Dun._]
that part of the Danish armie was brought to confusion. Simon Dunel.
saith, that the Englishmen in déed wan the field here, but not without
[Sidenote: Goda earle of Deuonshire slain. _Matt. West._]
great losse. For besides Goda (who by report of the same author
was Earle of Deuonshire) there died an other valiant man of warre
named Strenwold. In the yeere 991, Brightnod earle of Essex, at Maldon
gaue battell to an armie of Danes (which vnder their leaders Iustine
and Guthmond had spoiled Gipswich) and was there ouercome and slaine
with the most part of his people, and so the Danes obteined in that
place the victorie.

[Sidenote: _991_.]
In the same yéere, and in the 13 yeere of, king Egelreds reigne,
when the land was on each side sore afflicted, wasted and haried by
the Danes, which couered the same as they had béene grashoppers: by
the aduise of the archbishop of Canturburie Siricius (which was the
second of that sée after Dunstane) a composition was taken with the
[Sidenote: Ten thousand pounds paid to the Danes. Danegilt.]
Danes, so that for the sum of ten thousand pounds to be paied to
them by the king, they should couenant not to trouble his subjects
anie further. This monie was called Danegilt or Dane monie, and was
leuied of the people. Although other take that to be Danegilt, which
was giuen vnto such Danes as king Egelred afterwards reteined in his
seruice, to defend the land from other Danes and enimies that sought
to inuade his dominions. But by what name so euer this monie (which
the Danes now receiued) was called, true it is that herevpon they
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ 992.]
ceassed from their most cruell inuasions for a time. But shortlie
after they had refreshed themselues, and recouered new strength, they
began to play their old parts againe, dooing the like mischéefe by
their semblable inuasions, as they had vsed before. By reason hereof
such feare came vpon the English people, that they despaired to be
able to resist the enimies.

[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ A nauie set forth.]
The king yet caused a nauie to be set foorth at London, whereof
he appointed earle Alfrike (whome before he had banished) to be high
admerall, ioining with him earle Turold. This nauie did set forward
from London toward the enimies, who hauing warning giuen them from
Alfrike, escaped away without hurt. Shortly after a greater nauie of
the Danes came, and incountered with the kings fléet, so that a great
[Sidenote: Alfrike a traitour to his countrie. _Matth. West._]
number of the Londoners were slaine, and all the kings ships
taken: for Alfrike like a traitor turned to the Danes side. ¶ Matt.
West, maketh other report of this matter, declaring that Alfrike in
déed being one of the chiefe capteins of the fléet, aduertised them
by forewarning of the danger that was toward them, and that when they
should come to ioining, the same Alfrike like a traitor fled to the
Danes, and after vpon necessitie being put to flight escaped away with
them: but the other capteins of the kings fléet, as Theodred, Elstan,
and Escwen, pursued the Danes, tooke one of their ships, and slue all
those that were found therein. The Londoners also (as the same Matt.
West, saith) met with the nauie of the Danish rouers as they fled
away, and slue a great number, and also tooke the ship of the traitor
Alfrike with his souldiers & armor, but he himselfe escaped, though
with much paine, hauing plaied the like traitorous part once
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ The son punished for his fathers offense. 993.]
before, and yet was reconciled to the kings fauor againe. Vpon this
mischiefe wrought by the father, the king now tooke his sonne Algar,
and caused his eies to be put out.

About the same time was Bambrough destroied by the Danes, which
arriued after in Humber, and wasted the countrie of Lindsey and
Yorkeshire, on either side that riuer. And when the Englishmen were
assembled to giue them battell, before they ioined, the capteines
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _Polydor_. _Matth. West._]
of the English armie, Frena, Godwin, and Fredegist, that were Danes
by their fathers side began to flie away, and escaped, so giuing the
occasion of the ouerthrow that lighted on their people. But by some
writers it should appéere, that after the Danes had destroied all the
north parts, as they spred abroad without order and good arraie, the
[Sidenote: Aulafe king of Norway, & Swein king of Denmarke were
capteins of this fleet, as saith _Simon Dun._ 994]
people of the countrie fell vpon them, and slue some of them,
and chased the residue. Other of the Danes with a nauie of 94 ships
entered the Thames, and besieged London about our ladie daie in
September. They gaue a verie sore assault to the citie, and assaied to
set it on fire: but the citizens so valiantlie defended themselues,
that the Danes were beaten backe and repelled, greatlie to their
losse, so that they were constreined to depart thence with dishonor.
Then they fell to and wasted the countries of Essex, Kent, Sussex, and
Hamshire, and ceassed not till they had inforced the king to compound
[Sidenote: _Hen Hunt._ _Wil. Malm._ The king compounded with the Danes
for monie. _Matt. West. Simon Dun._ Aufale king of Norwey baptised.
His promise.]
with them for 16 thousand pounds, which he was glad to pay to haue
peace with them.

Moreouer, whereas they wintered that yéere at Southampton, the king
procured Aulafe king of the Norwegians to come vnto Andeuer (where
at that time he lay) vpon pledges receiued of the king for his safe
returne. Elphegus bishop of Winchester, and duke Ethelwold were
appointed by king Egelred to bring Aulafe vnto him in most honorable
maner. The same time was Aulafe baptised, king Egelred receiuing him
at the fontstone, and so he promised neuer after to make anie war
within this land. And receiuing great gifts of the king, he returned
into his countrie, and kept his promise faithfullie: but the euils
tooke not so an end, for other of the Danes sprang vp, as they had
béene the heads of the serpent Hydra, some of them euer being readie
to trouble the quiet state of the English nation.
[Sidenote: _Iohn Leland_. _Simon Dun._ 995.]

About this season, that is to say, in the yéere of our Lord 995,
bishop Aldaine which was fled from Chester in the stréet (otherwise
[Sidenote: The church of Durham builded.]
called Cunecester) with the bodie of saint Cuthbert for feare of
the inuasion of Danes, vnto Rippon, brought the same bodie now vnto
Durham, and there began the foundation of a church; so that the sée of
that bishoprike was from thencefoorth there established, and the woods
[Sidenote: Earle Vthred]
were there cut downe, which before that time couered and ouergrew
that place, wherevpon it began first to be inhabited. Earle Vthred,
who gouerned that countrie, greatlie furthered the bishop in this
[Sidenote: Durham town and minster builded.]
worke, so that all the people inhabiting betweene the riuers
of Coquid and Theis, came togither to rid the woods, and to helpe
forwards the building of the church and towne there.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Danes inuading the west parts of this land make great hauocke by
fire and sword, they arriue at Rochester, and conquer the Kentishmen
in field, king Egelred ouercommeth the Danes that inhabited Cumberland
and wasteth the countrie, the Summersetshire men are foiled; the
miserable state of the realme in those daies; the English bloud mixed
with the Danes and Britaines, and what inconueniencies grew thervpon,
the disordered gouernement of king Egelred, sicknesses vexing
the people, treason in the nobles, the tribute paid to the Danes
vnmercifillie inhansed, the realme brought to beggerie; king Egelred
by politike persuasion and counsell marrieth Emma the duke of
Normandies daughter, vpon what occasion the Normans pretended a title
to the crowne of England, they conquer the whole land, what order king
Egelred tooke to kill all the Danes within his kingdoms, and what rule
they bare in this realme yer they were murdered, the thraldome of the
English people under them, whereof the word Lordane sprang_.


In the ninteenth yere of king Egelreds reigne, the Danes sailed about
[Sidenote: 997. The Danes inuade the west parts of this land.]
Cornewall, and comming into the Seuerne sea, they robbed & tooke
preies in the coasts of Deuonshire & Southwales, and landing
at Wicheport, they burned vp the countrie, and came about vnto
Penwithstréet on the south coast, and so arriuing in the mouth of
Tamer water, came vnto Lidford, and there wasted all afore them with
force of fire. They burned, amongst other places, the monasterie of
[Sidenote: Tauestocke.]
saint Ordulfe at Essingstocke. After this they came into Dorcetshire,
and passed through the countrie with flame and fire, not finding anie
that offered to resist them. The same yéere also they soiourned in the
Ile of Wight, and liued vpon spoiles & preies which they tooke in
[Sidenote: 998.]
Hampshire and Sussex. At length they came into the Thames, and so
[Sidenote: 999. The Danes arriue in the Thames.]
by the riuer of Medwey arriued at Rochester. The Kentishmen assembled
togither and fought with the Danes, but they were ouercome, and so
left the field to the Danes. After this, the same Danes sailed into
Normandie, and king Egelred went into Cumberland, where the Danes
inhabited in great numbers, whome he ouercame with sore warre, and
[Sidenote: 1000.]
wasted almost all Cumberland, taking great spoiles in the same.
[Sidenote: 1001. Exmouth]
About the same time, or shortlie after, the Danes with their nauie,
returning out of Normandie, came vnto Exmouth, and there assaulted the
castell, but they were repelled by them that kept it. After this they
spread abroad ouer all the countrie, exercising their accustomed trade
of destroieng all before them with fire and sword. The men of
[Sidenote: Pentho.]
Summersetshire fought with them at Pentho, but the Danes got the vpper

Thus the state of the realme in those daies was verie miserable, for
there wanted worthie chieftains to rule the people, and to chastise
them when they did amisse. There was no trust in the noble men, for
euerie one impugned others dooing, and yet would not deuise which
[Sidenote: Disagréement with councellors what fruit it bringeth.]
way to deale with better likelihood. When they assembled in councell,
and should haue occupied their heads in deuising remedies for the
mischiefe of the common wealth, they turned their purpose vnto
altercation, about such strifes, contentions and quarels as each one
against other, and suffered the generall case to lie still in the
dust. And if at anie time there was anie good conclusion agreed vpon,
for the withstanding of the enimie, & reléefe of the common wealth,
anon should the enimie be aduertised thereof by such as were of
aliance or consanguinitie to them. For (as Caxton, Polychr. and
others say) the English bloud was so mixed with that of the Danes and
Britains, who were like enimies to the Englishmen, that there was
almost few of the nobilitie and commons, which had not on the one side
a parent of some of them.

Whereby it came to passe, that neither the secret purposes of the king
could be concealed till they might take due effect; neither their
assemblies proue quiet without quarelling and taking of parts. Manie
also being sent foorth with their powers one way (whilest the king
went to make resistance another) did reuolt to his enimies, and
turned their swords against him (as you haue heard of Elfrike and his
complices, and shall read of manie others) so that it was no maruell
that Egelred sped no better, and yet was he as valiant as anie of his
predecessors, although the moonks fauour him not in their writings,
because he demanded aid of them toward his warres, and was nothing
fauorable to their lewd hypocrisie. But what is a king if his subiects
be not loiall? What is a realme, if the common wealth be diuided? By
peace & concord, of small beginnings great and famous kingdomes haue
oft times procéeded; whereas by discord the greatest kingdoms haue
oftner bene brought to ruine. And so it proued here, for whilest
priuat quarels are pursued, the generall affaires are vtterlie
neglected: and whilest ech nation séeketh to preferre hir owne
aliance, the Iland it selfe is like to become a desert.

But to procéed with our monasticall writers: certes they lay all the
fault in the king, saieng that he was a man giuen to no good exercise,
he delighted in fleshlie lustes and riotous bankettings and still
sought waies how to gather of his subiects what might be got, as well
[Sidenote: The misgouernement of the king.]
by vnlawfull meanes as otherwise. For he would for feined or for
verie small & light causes disherit his natiue subiects, and cause
[Sidenote: Sicknesse vexeth the people.]
them to redéeme their owne possessions for great summes of monie.
Besides these oppressions, diuers kinds of sicknesses vexed the people
also, as the bloodie flix, and hot burning agues which then raged
through the land, so that manie died thereof. By such manner of meanes
[Sidenote: Treason in the nobilitie.]
therefore, what through the misgouernance of the king, the treason
and disloialtie of the nobilitie, the lacke of good order and due
correction amongst the people, and by such other scourges and mishaps
as afflicted the English nation in that season, the land was brought
into great ruine, so that, where by strength the enimie could not be
kept off, there was now no hope but to appease them with monie. By
[Sidenote: The inhancing of the tribute paid to the Danes.]
reason hereof from time of the first agréement with the Danes for
10 thousand pounds tribute, it was inhanced to 16000 pounds, (as you
haue heard) & after that to 20000 pounds, then to 24000 pounds, & so
to 30000 pounds, & lastlie to 40000 pounds, till at length the relme
was emptied in maner of all that monie and coine that could be found
[Sidenote: The death of quéene Elgina.]
in it. In this meane time died Elgina or Ethelgina the quéene.
[Sidenote: Emma. _Hen. Hunt._]
Shortlie after it was deuised that the king should be a suter
vnto Richard duke of Normandie, for his sister Emma, a ladie of such
excellent beautie, that she was named the floure of Normandie. This
sute was begun and tooke such good successe, that the king
[Sidenote: 1002. Emma daughter of R. duke of Normandie maried to
K. Edgar.]
obteined his purpose. And so in the yeare of our Lord 1002, which was
about the 24 yeare of king Egelreds reigne, he maried the said Emma
with great solemnitie.

This mariage was thought to be right necessarie, honorable, and
profitable for the realme of England, because of the great puissance
of the Norman princes in those daies: but as things afterward came to
passe, it turned to the subuersion of the whole English state: for by
such affinitie and dealing as happened hereby betwixt the Normans and
Englishmen, occasion in the end was ministred to the same Normans to
pretend a title to the crowne of England, in prosecuting of which
title, they obteined and made the whole conquest of the land, as after
shall appeare. Egelred being greatlie aduanced (as he thought) by
reason of his mariage, deuised vpon presumption thereof, to cause all
the Danes within the land to be murthered in one day. Herevpon he sent
priuie commissioners to all cities, burrowes and townes within his
dominions, commanding the rulers and officers in the same, to kill
all such Danes as remained within their liberties, at a certeine day
prefixed, being saint Brices day, in the yeare 1012, and in the 34
[Sidenote: 1012. The 18 of Nouember. The murder of the Danes.]
yeare of king Egelreds reigne. Herevpon (as sundrie writers agree)
in one day & houre this murther began, and was according to the
commission and iniunction executed. But where it first began, the same
is vncerteine: some say at Wellowin in Herefordshire, some at a
[Sidenote: Hownhill, or Houndhill, a place within Merchington parish
beside the forest of Néedwood, somewhat more than two miles from
place in Staffordshire called Hownhill, & others in other places, but
whersoeuer it began, the dooers repented it after.

[Sidenote: The miserable state of this realme vnder the thraldome of
the Danes.]
But now yer we procéed anie further, we will shew what rule the
Danes kept here in this realme before they were thus murthered, as
in some bookes we find recorded. Whereas it is shewed that the Danes
compelled the husbandmen to til the ground & doo all maner of labour
and toile to be doone about husbandrie: the Danes liued vpon the fruit
and gaines that came thereof, and kept the husbandmens wiues, their
daughters, maids and seruants, vsing and abusing them at their
pleasures. And when the husbandmen came home, then could they scarse
haue such sustenance of meats and drinkes as fell for seruants to
haue: so that the Danes had all their commandements, eating and
drinking of the best, where the sillie man that was the owner, could
hardlie come to his fill of the worst. Besides this, the common people
were so oppressed by the Danes, that for feare and dread they called
[Sidenote: _Hector Boet._]
them in euerie such house where anie of them soiourned, Lord Dane.
And if an Englishman and a Dane chanced to méet at anie bridge or
streight passage, the Englishman must staie till the Lord Dane were
passed. But in processe of time, after the Danes were voided the land,
this word Lord Dane was in derision and despight of the Danes turned
[Sidenote: Lordane whereof the word came.]
by Englishmen into a name of reproch, as Lordane, which till these
our daies is not forgotten. For when the people in manie parts of this
realme will note and signifie anie great idle lubber that will not
labour nor take paine for his liuing, they will call him Lordane. Thus
did the Danes vse the Englishmen in most vile manner, and kept them in
such seruile thraldome as cannot be sufficientlie vttered.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A fresh power of Danes inuade England to reuenge the slaughter of
their countrimen that inhabited this Ile, the west parts betraied into
their hands by the conspiracie of a Norman that was in gouernement,
earle Edrike feined himselfe sicke when king Egelred sent vnto him
to leuie a power against the Danes, and betraieth his people to the
enimies; Sweine king of Denmarke arriueth on the coast of Northfolke,
and maketh pitifull spoile by fire and sword; the truce taken betweene
him and Vikillus is violated, and what reuengement followeth; king
Sweine forced by famine returneth into his owne countrie, he arriueth
againe at Sandwich, why king Egelred was vnable to preuaile against
him, the Danes ouerrun all places where they come and make cruell
waste, king Egelred paieth him great summes of monie for peace; the
mischiefes that light vpon a land by placing a traitorous stranger in
gouernement, how manie acres a hide of land conteineth, Egelreds
order taken for ships and armour, why his great fleet did him little
pleasure; a fresh host of Danes vnder three capteines arriue at
Sandwich, the citizens of Canturburie for monie purchase safetie, the
faithlesse deeling of Edrike against king Egelred for the enimies
aduantage, what places the Danes ouerran and wasted_.


Vpon knowledge giuen into Denmarke of the cruell murder of the Danes
here in England, truth it is, that the people of the countrie were
greatlie kindled in malice, and set in such a furious rage against
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ _Simon Dun._ The Danes returne to inuade England.]
the Englishmen, that with all spéed they made foorth a nauie full
fraught with men of warre, the which in the yeare following came
[Sidenote: Excester taken. 1002.]
swarming about the coasts of England, and landing in the west
countrie, tooke the citie of Excester, and gat there a rich
[Sidenote: Hugh a Norman conspireth with the Danes.]
spoile. One Hugh a Norman borne, whome queene Emma had placed in those
parties as gouernour or shirife there, conspired with the Danes, so
that all the countrie was ouerrun and wasted.

The king hearing that the Danes were thus landed, and spoiled the
west parts of the realme, he sent vnto Edricus to assemble a power to
withstand the enimies. Herevpon the people of Hampshire and Wiltshire
rose and got togither: but when the armies should ioine, earle
[Sidenote: The counterfait sicknesse of duke Edrike.]
Edricus surnamed de Streona feigned himselfe sicke, and so betraied
his people, of whome he had the conduct: for they perceiuing the want
[Sidenote: Wilton spoiled.]
in their leader, were discouraged, and so fled. The Danes followed
them vnto Wilton, which towne they rifled and ouercame. From thence
they went to Salisburie, and so taking their pleasure there, returned
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
to their ships, because (as some write) they were aduertised that
[Sidenote: 1004.]
the king was comming towards them with an huge armie. In the yeare
next insuing, that is to saie 1004, which was about the 24 yeare
[Sidenote: Swein king of Denmarke.]
of K. Egelreds reigne, Sweine or Swanus, king of Denmarke, with a
mightie nauie of ships came on the coast of Northfolke, and there
[Sidenote: Norwich taken by the Danes.]
landing with his people, made toward Norwich, and comming thither
tooke that citie, and spoiled it. Then went he vnto Thetford, and
[Sidenote: Thetford burnt.]
when he had taken and rifled that towne, he burnt it, notwithstanding
[Sidenote: Vikillus or Wilfeketell gouernour of Norffolke.]
a truce taken by Vikillus or Wilfketell gouernor of those parties
with the same king Swaine after the taking of Norwich. In reuenge
therefore of such breach of truce, the same Vikillus, or Wilfeketell,
with such power as he could raise, assaulted the host of Danes as they
returned to their ships, and slue a great number of them, but was not
able to mainteine the fight, for his enimies ouermatched him in number
of men. And so he was constrained in the end to giue backe: and
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._]
the enimies kept on their waies to their ships.

[Sidenote: 1005. Swaine returned into Denmarke. _Simon Dun._]
In the yeare following king Swaine returned into Denmarke with all
his fléet, partlie constrained so to doo (as some write) by reason of
the great famin & want of necessarie sustenance, which in that
[Sidenote: 1006. _Hen. Hunt._ Swaine returned into England.]
yeare sore oppressed this land. In the yeare of our Lord 1006, king
Swaine returned againe into England with a mightie & huge nauie,
arriuing at Sandwich, and spoiled all the countrie néere vnto the
sea side. King Egelred raised all his power against him, and all the
haruest time laie abroad in the field to resist the Danes, which
according to their woonted maner spared not to exercise their
vnmercifull crueltie, in wasting and spoiling the land with fire and
sword, pilfering and taking of preies in euerie part where they came.
Neither could king Egelred remedie the matter, because the enimies
still conueied themselues with their ships into some contrarie
quarter, from the place where they knew him to be, so that his trauell
was in vaine.

[Sidenote: The Danes winter in the Ile of Wight.
They inuade Hampshire, Barkeshire, &c.]
About the beginning of winter they remained in the Ile of Wight,
& in the time of Christmasse they landed in Hampshire, and passing
through that countrie into Barkeshire, they came to Reading, and from
thence to Wallingford, and so to Coleseie, and then approching to
Essington, came to Achikelmeslawe, and in euerie place wheresoeuer
they came, they made cleane worke. For that which they could not carie
with them, they consumed with fire, burning vp their innes and sleaing
their hoasts. In returning backe, the people of the west countrie gaue
them battell, but preuailed not, so that they did but inrich their
[Sidenote: Winchester.]
enimies with the spoile of their bodies. They came by the gates of
Winchester as it were in maner of triumph, with vittels and spoiles
which they had fetched fiftie miles from the sea side. In the
[Sidenote: 1007.]
meane time king Egelred lay about Shrewsburie sore troubled with the
newes hereof, and in the yeare next insuing, by the aduise of his
councell he gaue to king Swaine for the redeeming of peace 30000
[Sidenote: 36000 pound saith _Si. Dun._]

[Sidenote: Edrike de Streona made duke or earle of Mercia.]
In the same yeare K. Egelred created the traitor Edrike earle of
Mercia, who although he had maried Edgiua the kings daughter, was yet
noted to be one of those which disclosed the secrets of the realme,
and the determinations of the councell vnto the enimies. But he
was such a craftie dissembler, so greatlie prouided of sleight to
dissemble and cloake his falshood, that the king being too much abused
by him, had him in singular fauour, whereas he vpon a malicious
purpose studied dailie how to bring the realme into vtter destruction,
aduertising the enimies from time to time how the state of things
stood, whereby they came to knowlege when they should giue place,
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
and when they might safelie come forward. Moreouer, being sent vnto
them oftentimes as a commissioner to treat for peace, he persuaded
them to warre. But such was the pleasure of God, to haue him and such
other of like sort aduanced to honor in this season, when by his
diuine prouidence he meant to punish the people of this realme for
their wickednesse and sinnes, whereby they had iustlie prouoked his
wrath and high displeasure.

[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._ _Simon Dun._
An hundred acres is an hide of land.]
In the 30 yeare of king Egelreds reigne, which fell in the yeare
of our Lord 1008, he tooke order that of euerie thrée hundred and ten
hides of land within this realme, there should one ship be builded,
and of euerie eight hides a complet armor furnished. In the yeare
[Sidenote: 1008]
following, the kings whole fléet was brought togither at Sandwich,
and such souldiers came thither as were appointed to go to sea in the
same fleet. There had not béene seene the like number of ships
[Sidenote: Provision for ships and armour]
so trimlie rigged and furnished in all points, in anie kings daies
before. But no great profitable peece of seruice was wrought by them:
for the king had about that time banished a noble yoong man of
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._]
Sussex called Wilnot, who getting togither twentie sailes, laie vpon
the coasts taking prices where he could get them. Brithrike the
brother of earle Edrike, being desirous to win honor, tooke forth
foure score of the said ships, and promised to bring in the enimie
dead or aliue. But as he was sailing forward on the seas, a sore
tempest with an outragious wind rose with such violence, that his
ships were cast vpon the shore: and Wilnot comming vpon them, set them
on fire, and so burned them euerie one. The residue of the ships, when
newes came to them of this mishap, returned backe to London; and
then was the armie dispersed, and so all the cost and trauell of the
Englishmen proued in vaine.

[Sidenote: Danes land at Sandwich. 1009.]
After this, in the haruest time a new armie of Danes, vnder the
conduct of thrée capteines, Turkill, Henning, and Aulafe landed at
Sandwich, and from thence passed forth to Canturburie, and had taken
the citie but that the citizens gaue them a 1000 pounds to depart from
[Sidenote: 3000 pound saith _Sim. Dun._]
thence, and to leaue the countrie in peace. Then went the Danes to
[Sidenote: Sussex and Hampshire spoiled.]
the Ile of Wight, and afterwards landed and spoiled the countrie
of Sussex and Hampshire. King Egelred assembled the whole power of all
his subiects, and comming to giue them battell, had made an end of
their cruell harieng the countrie with the slaughter of them all, if
earle Edrike with forged tales (deuised onelie to put him in feare)
had not dissuaded him from giuing battell. The Danes by that
[Sidenote: The Danes returne into Kent.]
meanes returning in safetie, immediatlie after the feast of saint
Martine, returned into Kent, and lodged with their nauie in the winter
following in the Thames, and oftentimes assaulting the citie of
London, were still beaten backe to their losse.

[Sidenote: 1010. Oxford burnt.]
After the feast of Christmasse they passed through the countrie
and woods of Chilterne vnto Oxford, which towne they burned, and then
returning backe they fell to wasting of the countrie on both sides the
Thames. But hearing that an armie was assembled at London to giue them
battell; that part of their host which kept on the northside of the
[Sidenote: Stanes.]
riuer, passed the same riuer at Stanes, and so ioining with their
fellowes marched foorth through Southerie, and comming backe to their
ships in Kent, fell in hand to repare & amend their ships that were
in anie wise decaied. Then after Easter, the Danes sailing about the
[Sidenote: Gipswich in Suffolke. _Simon Dun._]
coast, arriued at Gipswich in Suffolke, on the Ascension day of
our Lord: and inuading the countrie, gaue battell at a place called
Wigmere or Rigmere, vnto Vikill or Wilfeketell leader of the English
host in those parties, on the fift of Maie. The men of Northfolke and
Suffolke fled at the first onset giuen: but the Cambridgeshire
men sticked to it valiantlie, winning thereby perpetuall fame and
commendation. There was no mindfulnesse amongest them of running
awaie, so that a great number of the nobilitie and other were beaten
[Sidenote: Capat formicæ.]
downe and slaine, till at length one Turketell Mireneheued, that
had a Dane to his father, first began to take his flight, and deserued
thereby an euerlasting reproch.

The Danes obteining the vpper hand, for the space of thrée moneths
togither went vp and downe the countries, & wasted those parties of
the realme, that is to say, Northfolke, and Suffolke, with the borders
of Lincolnshire, Huntingtonshire, and Cambridgeshire where the fens
are, gaining excéeding riches by the spoile of great and wealthie
[Sidenote: Thetford. Cambridge. _Hen. Hunt._]
abbies and churches which had their situation within the compasse
of the same fens. They also destroied Thetford, and burnt Cambridge,
and from thence passed through the pleasant mountaine-countrie of
Belsham, cruellie murdering the people without respect of age, degrée
[Sidenote: The Danes arrive in the Thames. 1011.]
or sex. After this also they entred into Essex. and so came backe
to their ships, which were then arriued in the Thames. But they rested
not anie long time in quiet, as people that minded nothing but the
destruction of this realme. So as soone after, when they had somwhat
refreshed them, they set forward againe into the countrie, passing
through Buckinghamshire, & so into Bedfordshire. And about saint
[Sidenote: Northampton burnt by Danes.]
Andrewes tide they turned towards Northampton, & comming thither set
fire on that towne. Then turning through the west countrie, with fire
& sword they wasted and destroied a great part thereof, & namelie
Wiltshire, with other parties. And finallie about the feast of
Christmas they came againe to their ships. Thus had the Danes
[Sidenote: How manie shires the Danes wasted.]
wasted the most part of 16 or 17 shires within this realme, as
Northfolke, Suffolke, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Middlesex, Hartfordshire,
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire, with a part of
Huntingtonshire, and also a great portion of Northamptonshire. This
was doone in the countries that lie on the northside of the riuer of
Thames. On the southside of the same riuer, they spoiled and wasted
Kent, Southerie, Sussex, Barkeshire, Hampshire, and (as is before
said) a great part of Wiltshire.

       *       *       *       *       *

_King Egelred offereth the Danes great summes of moneie to desist
from destroieng his countrie, their unspeakable crueltie,
bloudthirstinesse, and insatiable spoiling of Canturburie betraied
by a churchman; their merciles murthering of Elphegus archbishop of
Canturburie, Turkillus the Dane chiefe lord of Norfolke and Suffolke,
a peace concluded betweene the Danes and the English vpon hard
conditions; Gunthildis a beautifull Danish ladie and hir husband
slaine, hir courage to the death._


[Sidenote: The king sendeth to the Danes. _Simon Dun._]
The king and the peeres of the realme, vnderstanding of the Danes
dealing in such merciles maner (as is aboue mentioned) but not knowing
how to redresse the matter, sent ambassadors vnto the Danes, offering
them great summes of moneie to leaue off such cruell wasting and
spoiling of the land. The Danes were contented to reteine the moneie,
but yet could not absteine from their cruell dooings, neither was
their greedie thirst of bloud and spoile satisfied with the wasting
and destroieng of so manie countries and places as they had passed
[Sidenote: 1011.]
through. Wherevpon, in the yeere of our Lord 1011, about the feast of
S. Matthew in September, they laid siege to the citie of Canturburie,
which of the citizens was valiantlie defended by the space of twentie
daies. In the end of which terme it was taken by the enimies,
[Sidenote: Canturburie wonne by Danes.]
through the treason of a deacon named Almaricus, whome the archbishop
Elphegus had before that time preserued from death. The Danes
exercised passing great crueltie in the winning of that citie (as by
sundrie authors it dooth and maie appéere.) For they slue of men,
[Sidenote: _Fabian ex Antonino_.]
women, and children, aboue the number of eight thousand. They tooke
[Sidenote: The archbishop Elphegus taken. _Hen. Hunt._]
the archbishop Elphegus with an other bishop named Godwine; also
abbat Lefwin and Alseword the kings bailife there. They spared no
degrée, in somuch that they slue and tooke 900 priests, and other men
of religion. And when they had taken their pleasure of the citie, they
[Sidenote: _Antoninus. Vincentius_. _Wil. Lamb. ex Asserio Meneuensi,
& alijs_.]
set it on fire, and so returned to their ships. There be some which
write that they tithed the people after an inuerted order, slaieng all
by nines through the whole multitude, and reserued the tenth: so that
of all the moonks there were but foure saued, and of the laie people
4800, whereby it followeth that there died 43200 persons. Whereby is
gathered that the citie of Canturburie, and the countrie thereabouts
(the people whereof belike fled thither for succor) was at that time
verie well inhabited, so as there haue not wanted (saith maister
Lambert) which affirme that it had then more people than London it

[Sidenote: 1112. _Henr. Hunt._]
But now to our purpose. In the yéere next insuing, vpon the
Saturday in Easter wéeke, after that the bishop Elphegus had béene
kept prisoner with them the space of six or seuen moneths, they
cruellie in a rage led him foorth into the fields, and dashed out his
[Sidenote: The archbishop Elphegus murthered.]
braines with stones, bicause he would not redéeme his libertie with
thrée thousand pounds, which they demanded to haue beene leuied of his
farmers and tenants. This cruell murther was commited at Gréenewich
foure miles distant from London, the 19 of Aprill, where he lay a
[Sidenote: Miracles.]
certeine time vnburied, but at length through miracles shewed (as
[Sidenote: Elphegus buried in London.]
they say, for miracles are all wrought now by dead men, and not
by the liuing) the Danes permitted that his bodie might be caried to
London, and there was it buried in the church of S. Paule, where it
rested for the space of ten yeeres, till king Cnute or Knought had the
[Sidenote: Translated to Canturburie.]
gouernment of this land, by whose appointment it was remooued to

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malms._ Turkillus held Norffolk and Suffolke.]
Turkillus the leader of those Danes by whome the archbishop
Elphegus was thus murthered, held Northfolke and Suffolke vnder
his subiection, & so continued in those parties as chiefe lord and
gouernor. But the residue of the Danes at length, compounding with
[Sidenote: 48 thousand pound as saith _Sim. Dun._ and _M. West._
_Henr. Hunt._]
the Englishmen for a tribute to be paid to them of eight thousand
pounds, spred abroad in the countrie, soiorning in cities, townes and
villages, where they might find most conuenient harbour. Moreouer,
fortie of their ships, or rather (as some write) 45 were reteined to
serue the king, promising to defend the realme; with condition, that
the souldiers and mariners should haue prouision of meate and drinke,
with apparell found them at the kings charges. As one autor hath
gathered, Swaine king of Denmarke was in England at the concluding of
this peace, which being confirmed with solemne othes and sufficient
hostages, he departed into Denmarke.

[Sidenote: _Matth. West._]
The same author bringeth the generall slaughter of Danes vpon S.
Brices day, to haue chanced in the yéere after the conclusion of
this agreement, that is to say, in the yeere 1012, at what time
[Sidenote: Gunthildis the sister of K. Swaine murthered.]
Gunthildis the sister of king Swaine was slaine, with hir husband
& hir sonne, by the commandement of the false traitor Edrike. But
bicause all other authors agree that the murther of Danes was executed
about ten yeeres before this supposed time: we haue made rehearsall
thereof in that place. Howbeit, for the death of Gunthildis, it maie
be, that she became hostage either in the yéere 1007, at what time
king Egelred paied thirtie thousand pounds vnto king Swaine to haue
peace (as before you haue heard) or else might she be deliuered in
hostage, in the yéere 1011, when the last agréement was made with the
Danes (as aboue is mentioned.) But when or at what time soeuer she
became hostage, this we find of hir, that she came hither into England
with hir husband Palingus, a mightie earle, and receiued baptisme
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
héere. Wherevpon she earnestlie trauelled in treatie of a peace
betwixt hir brother and king Egelred: which being brought to passe
chieflie by hir sute, she was contented to become an hostage for
performance thereof (as before is recited.) And after by the
commandement of earle Edrike she was put to death, pronouncing that
the shedding of hir bloud would cause all England one day sore to rue.
She was a verie beautifull ladie, and tooke hir death without all
feare, not once changing countenance, though she saw hir husband
and hir onelie sonne (a yoong gentleman of much towardnesse) first
murthered before hir face.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Turkillus the Danish capteine telleth king Swaine the faults of the
king, nobles, & commons of this realme, he inuadeth England, the
Northumbers and others submit themselues to him, Danes receiued into
seruice vnder Egelred, London assalted by Swaine, the citizens behaue
themselues stoutlie, and giue the Danish host a shamefull repulse,
Ethelmere earle of Deuonshire and his people submit themselues to
Swaine, he returneth into Denmarke, commeth back againe into England
with a fresh power, is incountred withhall of the Englishmen, whose
king Egelred is discomfited, his oration to his souldiers touching the
present reliefe of their distressed land, their resolution and full
purpose in this their perplexitie, king Egelred is minded to giue
place to Swaine, he sendeth his wife and children ouer into Normandie,
the Londoners yeeld vp their state to Swaine, Egelred saileth oner
into Normandie, leauing his land to the enimie._


[Sidenote: Turkillus discloseth the secrets of the Realme to K.
Now had Turkillus in the meanetime aduertised king Swaine in
what state things stood here within the realme: how king Egelred was
negligent, onlie attending to the lusts & pleasures of the flesh: how
the noble men were vnfaithfull, and the commons weake and feeble
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
through want of good and trustie leaders. Howbeit, some write, that
Turkillus as well as other of the Danes which remained héere in
England, was in league with king Egelred, in somuch that he was with
him in London, to helpe and defend the citie against Swaine when he
came to assalt it (as after shall appéere.) Which if it be true,
a doubt may rise whether Swaine receiued anie aduertisement from
Turkillus to mooue him the rather to inuade the realme: but such
aduertisements might come from him before that he was accorded with

[Sidenote: Swaine prepareth an armie to inuade England.]
Swaine therefore as a valiant prince, desirous both to reuenge
his sisters death, and win honor, prepared an huge armie, and a great
number of ships, with the which he made towards England, and first
[Sidenote: He landeth at Sandwich. 1013.]
comming to Sandwich, taried there a small while, and taking eftsoones
the sea, compassed about the coasts of Eastangles, and arriuing in the
[Sidenote: Gainsbourgh.]
mouth of Humber, sailed vp the water, and entering into the
riuer of Trent, he landed at Gainesbourgh, purposing to inuade the
Northumbers. But as men brought into great feare, for that they had
béene subiect to the Danes in times past, and thinking therefore not
to reuolt to the enimie, but rather to their old acquaintance, if
[Sidenote: The Northumbers yéeld to Swaine.]
they should submit themselues to the Danes, streightwaies offered to
become subiect vnto Swaine, togither with their duke named Wighthred.
[Sidenote: The people of Lindsey yéeld themselues to him.]
Also the people of Lindsey and all those of the northside of
Watlingstréet yéelded themselues vnto him, and delivered pledges. Then
he appointed his sonne Cnutus to haue the kéeping of those pledges,
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
and to remaine vpon the safegard of his ships, whiles he himselfe
[Sidenote: South Mercia.]
passed forward into the countrie. Then marched he forward to
subdue them of south Mercia: and so came to Oxford & to Winchester,
making the countries subiect to him throughout wheresoeuer he came.

With this prosperous successe Swaine being greatlie incouraged,
prepared to go vnto London, where king Egelred as then remained,
hauing with him Turkillus the Dane, which was reteined in wages
[Sidenote: _Sim. Dunel._]
with other of the Danes (as by report of some authors it maie appeare)
and were now readie to defend the citie against their countriemen in
support of king Egelred, togither with the citizens. Swaine, bicause
he would not step so farre out of the way as to go to the next bridge,
lost a great number of his men as he passed through the Thames. At
[Sidenote: Swaine assaulteth London.]
his comming to London, he began to assault the citie verie fiercelie,
in hope either to put his enimie in such feare that he should despaire
of all reliefe and comfort, or at the least trie what he was able to
doo. The Londoners on the other part, although they were brought in
some feare by this sudden attempt of the enimies, yet considering with
themselues, that the hazard of all the whole state of the realme
was annexed to theirs, sith their citie was the chiefe and
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
metropolitane of all the kingdome, they valiantlie stood in defense
of themselues, and of their king that was present there with them,
beating backe the enimies, chasing them from the walles, and otherwise
dooing their best to kéepe them off. At length, although the Danes did
most valiantlie assault the citie, yet the Englishmen to defend their
prince from all iniurie of enimies, did not shrinke, but boldlie
sallied foorth at the gates in heapes togither, and incountered with
their aduersaries, and began to fight with them verie fiercelie.

Swaine whilest he went about to kéepe his men in order, as one most
desirous to reteine the victorie now almost gotten, was compassed so
about with the Londoners on each side, that after he had lost a great
number of his men, he was constreined for his safegard to breake out
through the midst of his enimies weapons, and was glad that he might
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
so escape: and so with the residue of his armie ceassed not to
iournie day and night till he came to Bath, where Ethelmere an
[Sidenote: Erle of Deuonshire as saith _Matt. West._]
earle of great power in those west parts of the realme submitted
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
himselfe with all his people vnto him, who shortlie after
neuerthelesse (as some write) was compelled through want of vittels to
release the tribute latelie couenanted to be paied vnto him for a
[Sidenote: Swaine returneth into Denmarke.]
certeine summe of monie, which when hée had receiued, he returned into
Denmarke, meaning shortlie to returne againe with a greater power.

King Egelred supposed that by the paiment of that monie he should haue
béene rid out of all troubles, of warre with the Danes. But the nobles
of the realme thought otherwise, and therefore willed him to
[Sidenote: Swaine returneth into England to make warre.]
prepare an armie with all speéd that might be made. Swaine taried
not long (to proue the doubt of the noble men to be grounded of
foreknowledge) but that with swift spéed he returned againe into
England, and immediatlie vpon his arriuall was an armie of Englishmen
assembled and led against him into the field. Herevpon they ioined
[Sidenote: King Egelred discomfited in battell.]
in battell, which was sore foughten for a time, till at length by
reason of diuerse Englishmen that turned to the enimies side, the
discomfiture fell with such slaughter vpon the English host, that king
Egelred well perceiued the state of his regall gouernement to bée
brought into vtter danger. Wherevpon after the losse of this field,
he assembled the rest of his people that were escaped, and spake vnto
them after this manner.

_The oration of king Egelred to the remanent of his souldiers_.

"I shuld for euer be put to silence, if there wanted in vs the vertue
of a fatherlie mind, in giuing good aduise & counsel for the well
ordering and due administration of things in the common wealth, or if
there lacked courage or might in our souldiers and men of warre to
defend our countrie. Trulie to die in defense of the countrie where we
are borne, I confesse it a woorthie thing, and I for my part am readie
to take vpon me to enter into the midst of the enimies in defense of
my kingdome. But here I see our countrie and the whole English nation
to be at a point to fall into vtter ruine. We are ouercome of the
Danes, not with weapon or force of armes; but with treason wrought
by our owne people: we did at the first prepare a nauie against the
enimies, the which that false traitour Elfrike betraid into their
hands. Againe, oftentimes haue we giuen battell with euill successe,
and onelie through the fault of our owne people that haue beene false
and disloiall: whereby we haue bin constreined to agree with the
enimies vpon dishonorable conditions, euen as necessitie required,
which to ouercome, resteth onelie in God. Such kind of agreement hath
beene made in deed to our destruction, sith the enimies haue not
sticked to breake it (they being such a wicked kind of people as
neither regard God nor man) contrarie to right and reason, and beside
all our hope & expectation. So that the matter is come now to this
passe, that we haue not cause onlie to feare the losse of our
gouernement, but least the name of the whole English nation be
destroied for euer. Therefore sithens the enimies are at hand, and as
it were ouer our heads, you to whom my commandement hath euer bene had
in good regard, prouide, take counsell, and see to succor the state
of your countrie now readie to decay and to fall into irrecouerable

Herevpon they fell in consultation, euerie one alledging and bringing
foorth his opinion as seemed to him best: but it appeared they had the
woolfe by the eare, for they wist not which way to turne them. If they
should giue battell, it was to be doubted least through treason among
themselues, the armie should be betraied into the enimies hands, the
which would not faile to execute all kind of crueltie in the slaughter
of the whole nation. And if they stood not valiantlie to shew
themselues readie to defend their countrie, there was no shift but
yeeld themselues. Which though it were a thing reprochfull and
dishonorable, yet should it be lesse euill, as they tooke the matter,
for thereby might manie be preserued from death, and in time to come,
be able to recouer the libertie of their countrie, when occasion
should be offered. This point was allowed of them all, and so in the
end they rested vpon that resolution.

[Sidenote: King Egelred determineth to give place vnto Swaine.]
King Egelred therefore determined to commit himselfe into the
hands of his brother in law Richard duke of Normandie, whose sister
(as ye haue heard) he had maried. But bicause he would not doo
[Sidenote: He sendeth his wife and sonnes ouer into Normandie.]
this vnaduisedlie, first he sent ouer his wife quéene Emma, with his
sonnes which he had begotten of hir, Alfred and Edward, that by their
[Sidenote: Richard duke of Normandie.]
interteinment he might vnderstand how he should be welcome. Duke
Richard receiued his sister and his nephues verie ioifullie, and
promised to aid his brother king Egelred in defense of his kingdome.
But in this meane while had Swaine conquered the more part of all
England, and brought (by little and little) that which remained vnder
his subiection. The people through feare submitting themselues
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _Hen. Hunt._ Turkill. 1014.]
on each hand, king Egelred in this meane time (for the Londoners had
submitted themselues to Swaine) was first withdrawne vnto Gréenwich,
and there remained for a time with the nauie of the Danes, which was
vnder the gouernement of earle Turkill, and from thence sailed into
the Ile of Wight, and there remained a great part of the winter,
[Sidenote: King Egelred passeth into Normandie.]
and finallie after Christmas himselfe sailed into Normandie, and was
of his brother in law ioifullie receiued & greatlie comforted in that
his time of necessitie.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Swaine king of Denmarke is reputed king of this land, he oppresseth
the English people cruellie, and spoileth religious houses, the
strange and miraculous slaughter of Swaine vaunting of his victories;
the Danish chronicles write parciallie of him and his end, Cnute
succeedeth his father Swaine in regiment, the Englishmen send king
Egelred woord of Swaines death, Edward king Egelreds eldest sonne
commeth ouer into England to know the state of the countrie and people
of certeintie; Egelred with his power returneth into England; what
meanes Cnute made to establish himselfe king of this land, and to
be well thought of among the English people, Egelred burneth
vp Gainesbrough, and killeth the inhabitants therof for their
disloialtie; Cnutes flight to Sandwich, his cruel decree against the
English pledges, he returneth into Denmarke, why Turkillus the Danish
capteine with his power compounded with the Englishmen to tarrie in
this land, his faithlesse seruice to Egelred, his drift to make the
whole realme subiect to the Danish thraldome._


Swaine hauing now got the whole rule of the land, was reputed full
king, and so commanded that his armie should be prouided of wages and
vittels to be taken vp & leuied through the realme. In like maner
Turkill commanded that to his armie lodged at Gréenewich, wages and
vittels sufficient should be deliuered, for the finding, releeuing,
[Sidenote: Swaine handleth the Englishmen hardlie.]
succouring, and susteining thereof. Swaine vsed the victorie verie
cruellie against the Englishmen, oppressing them on each hand; to the
intent that them being brought low he might gouerne in more suertie.
The yéere in which he obteined the rule thus of this realme, and that
king Egelred was constreined to flie into Normandie, was in the 35
yeere of the same Egelred his reigne, and after the birth of our Lord
1014. Swaine being once established in the gouernment, did not onelie
vse much crueltie in oppressing the laitie, but also stretched foorth
his hand to the church, and to the ministers in the same, fléecing
them and spoiling both churches and ministers, without anie remorse
of conscience, insomuch that hauing a quarell against the inhabitants
within the precinct of S. Edmunds land in Suffolke, he did not onelie
harrie the countrie, but also rifled and spoiled the abbeie of Burie,
where the bodie of saint Edmund rested.

[Sidenote: _Fabian_. S. Edmund fighteth for the wealth, but not for
the slaughter of his people. _Simon Dun._ 1015.]
Wherevpon shortlie after, as he was at Gainesbrough or Thetford (as
some say) and there in his iollitie talked with his Nobles of his good
successe in conquering of this land, he was suddenlie striken with a
knife, as it is reported, miraculouslie, for no man wist how or by
whome: and within three daies after, to wit, on the third of Februarie
he ended his life with grieuous paine and torment in yelling and
roring, by reason of his extreame anguish beyond all measure. There
hath sproong a pleasant tale among the posteritie of that age, how he
should be wounded with the same knife which king Edmund in his life
[Sidenote: _Albertus Crantz_. _Saxo Grammaticus_.]
time vsed to weare. Thus haue some of our writers reported, but the
Danish chronicles report a farre more happie end which should chance
to this Swaine, than is before mentioned out of our writers: for the
said chronicles report, that after he had subdued England, he tooke
order with king Egelred, whome they name amisse Adelstane, that he
should not ordeine any other successor, but onlie the said Swaine.
Then after this, he returned into Denmarke, where vsing himselfe like
a right godlie prince, at length he there ended his life, being a
verie old man.

Notwithstanding all this, when or howsoeuer he died, immediatlie
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malmes_. _H. Hunt._ Canute or Cnute.]
after his deceasse the Danes elected his sonne Cnute or Knought to
succeed in his dominions. But the Englishmen of nothing more desirous
than to shake off the yoke of Danish thraldome besides their necks &
shoulders, streightwaies vpon knowledge had of Swaines death, with all
[Sidenote: Eglered sent for home.]
spéed aduertised king Egelred thereof, and that they were readie to
receiue and assist him if he would make hast to come ouer to deliuer
his countrie out of the hands of strangers. These newes were right
ioiful vnto Egelred, who burning in desire to be reuenged on them that
had expelled him out of his kingdome, made no longer tariance to set
[Sidenote: Edmund K. Egelreds eldest sonne.]
that enterprise forward. But yet doubting the inconstancie of the
people, he sent his elder son (named Edmund) to trie the minds of
them, and to vnderstand whether they were constant or wauering in that
which they had promised.

The yoong gentleman hasting ouer into England, and with diligent
inquirie perceiuing how they were bent, returned with like spéed as he
came into Normandie againe, declaring to his father, that all things
were in safetie if he would make hast. King Egelred then conceiued
[Sidenote: King Egelred returneth into England.]
an assured hope to recouer his kingdom, aided with his brother in laws
power, and trusting vpon the assistance of the Englishmen, returned
into England in the time of Lent. His returne was ioifull and most
acceptable to the English people, as to those that abhorred the
[Sidenote: Canutes endeuor to establish himselfe in the kingdome.]
rule of the Danes, which was most sharpe and bitter to them, although
Cnute did what he could by bountifulnesse and courteous dealings to
haue reteined them vnder his obeisance.

And of an intent to procure Gods fauour in the well ordering of things
for the administration in the common wealth, he sought first to
appease his wrath, and also to make amends to saint Edmund for his
fathers offense committed (as was thought) against him: insomuch
[Sidenote: S. Edmunds ditch.]
that after he had obteined the kingdome, he caused a great ditch to be
cast round about the land of saint Edmund, and granted manie fréedoms
to the inhabitants, acquiting them of certeine taskes and paiments,
vnto the which other of their neighbours were contributarie. He also
builded a church on the place where saint Edmund was buried, and
ordeined an house of moonks there, or rather remooued the canons or
secular priests that were there afore, and put moonks in their roomes.
He offered vp also his crowne vnto the same S. Edmund, and
[Sidenote: _Polydor_. _Fabian_.]
redéemed it againe with a great summe of monie, which maner of dooing
grew into an vse vnto other kings that followed him. He adorned the
church there with manie rich iewels, and indowed the monasterie with
great possessions.

But these things were not done now at the first, but after that he was
established in the kingdome. For in the meane time, after that king
Egelred was returned out of Normandie, Cnute as then soiourning at
Gainesbrough, remained there till the feast of Easter, and made
agréement with them of Lindsey, so that finding him horsses, they
should altogither go foorth to spoile their neighbors. King Egelred
aduertised thereof, sped him thither with a mightie host, and with
great crueltie burned vp the countrie, and slue the more part of the
[Sidenote: Canute driven to forsake the land.]
inhabitants, bicause they had taken part with his enimies. Cnute
as then was not of power able to resist Egelred, and therefore taking
his ships which lay in Humber, fled from thence, & sailed about
[Sidenote: He was driuen thither by force of contrarie winds as
should appeare by _Matth. West._]
the coast, till he came to Sandwich, and there sore gréeued in his
mind to remember what mischéefe was fallen and chanced to his friends
and subiects of Lindsey, onelie for his cause; he commanded that such
pledges as had béene deliuered to his father by certeine noble men
of this realme, for assurance of their fidelities, should haue their
noses slit, and their eares stuffed, or (as some write) their hands
and noses cut off.
[Sidenote: The cruell decrée of Cnute against the English pledges.
_Will. Malmes._]

When this cruell act according to his commandement was doone, taking
the sea, he sailed into Denmarke: but yet tooke not all the Danes with
him which his father brought thither. For earle Turkill perceiuing
the wealthinesse of the land, compounded with the Englishmen, and
[Sidenote: This Turkill was reteined in seruice with Egelred, as I
chose rather to remaine in a region replenished with all riches, than
to returne home into his owne countrie that wanted such commodities as
were here to be had. And yet (as some thought) he did not forsake his
souereigne lord Cnute for anie euill meaning towards him, but rather
to aid him (when time serued) to recouer the possession of England
againe, as it afterwards well appeared. For notwithstanding that he
was now reteined by K. Egelred with fortie ships, and the flower of
all the Danes that were men of warre, so that Cnute returned but with
60 ships into his countrie: yet shortlie after, erle Turkill with 9
of those ships sailed into Denmarke, submitted himselfe vnto Cnute,
counselled him to returne into England, and promised him the
assistance of the residue of those Danish ships which yet remained
[Sidenote: _Encomium Emmæ_.]
in England, being to the number of thirtie, with all the souldiers and
mariners that to them belonged. To conclude, he did so much by his
earnest persuasions, that Cnute (through aid of his brother Harrold
king of Denmarke) got togither a nauie of two hundred ships, so
roially decked, furnished, and appointed, both for braue shew and
necessarie furniture of all maner of weapons, armor & munition, as it
is strange to consider that which is written by them that liued in
those daies, and tooke in hand to register the dooings of that time.
Howbeit to let this pompe of Cnutes fléete passe, which (no doubt) was
right roiall, consider a little and looke backe to Turkill, though a
sworne seruant to king Egelred, how he did direct all his drift to the
aduancement of Cnute, and his owne commoditie, cloking his purposed
treacherie with pretended amitie, as shall appeare hereafter by his
deadlie hostilitie.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A great waste by an inundation or inbreaking of the sea, a tribute of
30000 pounds to the Danes, king Egelred holdeth a councell at Oxford,
where he causeth two noble men of the Danes to be murdered by treason,
Edmund the kings eldest sonne marieth one of their wiues, and seizeth
vpon his predecessors lands; Cnute the Danish king returneth into
England, the Danish and English armies encounter, both susteine losse;
Cnute maketh waste of certeine shires, Edmund preuenteth Edriks
purposed treason, Edrike de Streona flieth to the Danes, the
Westernemen yeeld to Cnute; Mercia refuseth to be subiect vnto him,
Warwikeshire wasted by the Danes; Egelred assembleth an armie against
them in vaine; Edmund & Vtred with ioined forces lay waste such
countries and people as became subiect to Cnute; his policie to
preuent their purpose, through what countries he passed, Vtred
submitteth himselfe to Cnute, and deliuereth pledges, he is put to
death and his lands álienated, Cnute pursueth Edmund to London, and
prepareth to besiege the citie, the death and buriall of Egelred, his
wiues, what issue he had by them, his unfortunatnesse, and to what
affections and vices he was inclined, his too late and bootlesse
seeking to releeue his decaied kingdome._


But now to returne to our purpose, and to shew what chanced in England
[Sidenote: 1015. _Matt. West._ _Simon Dun._ _Wil. Malm._]
after the departure of Cnute. In the same yeare to the forsaid
accustomed mischiefes an vnwoonted misaduenture happened: for the sea
rose with such high spring-tides, that ouerflowing the countries next
adioining, diuers villages with the inhabitants were drowned and
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._]
destroied. Also to increase the peoples miserie, king Egelred
commanded, that 30000 pounds should be leuied to paie the tribute due
to the Danes which lay at Greenewich. This yeare also king Egelred
[Sidenote: A councell at Oxford. Sigeferd and Morcad murdered.]
held a councell at Oxford, at the which a great number of noble men
were present, both Danes and Englishmen, and there did the king cause
Sigeferd and Morcad two noble personages of the Danes to be murdered
within his owne chamber, by the traitorous practise of Edrike de
Streona, which accused them of some conspiracie. But the quarell was
onelie as men supposed, for that the king had a desire to their goods
and possessions.

Their seruants tooke in hand to haue reuenged the death of their
maisters, but were beaten backe, wherevpon they fled into the steeple of
saint Friswids church, and kept the same, till fire was set vpon the
place, and so they were burned to death. The wife of Sigeferd was taken,
& sent to Malmsburie, being a woman of high fame and great worthinesse,
wherevpon the kings eldest sonne named Edmund, tooke occasion vpon
pretense of other businesse to go thither, and there to sée hir, with
whome he fell so far in loue,
[Sidenote: Edmund the kings eldest sonne marrieth the widow of
that he tooke and maried hir. That doone, he required to haue hir
husbands lands and possessions, which were an earles liuing, and lay
in Northumberland. And when the king refused to graunt his request,
he went thither, and seized the same possessions and lands into his
hands, without hauing anie commission so to doo, finding the farmers
and tenants there readie to receiue him for their lord.

[Sidenote: Cnute returneth into England.]
Whilest these things were a dooing, Cnute hauing made his
prouision of ships and men, with all necessarie furniture (as before
ye haue heard) for his returne into England, set forward with full
purpose, either to recouer the realme out of Egelreds hands, or to die
[Sidenote: _Encomium Emmæ_.]
in the quarrell. Herevpon he landed at Sandwich, and first earle
Turkill obteined licence to go against the Englishmen that were
assembled to resist the Danes, and finding them at a place called
Scorastan, he gaue them the ouerthrow, got a great bootie, and
returned therewith to the ships. After this, Edrike gouernor of
Norwaie made a rode likewise into an other part of the countrie, &
with a rich spoile, and manie prisoners, returned vnto the nauie.
After this iournie atchiued thus by Edrike, Cnute commanded that they
should not waste the countrie anie more, but gaue order to prepare
all things readie to besiege London: but before he attempted that
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm_. _Hen. Hunt_. _Matth. West_. _Sim. Dun_.]
enterprise, as others write, he marched foorth into Kent, or rather
sailing round about that countrie, tooke his iournie westward, & came
to Fromundham, and after departing from thence, wasted Dorsetshire,
Summersetshire, & Wiltshire.

[Sidenote: King Egelred sicke. _Matth. West._]
King Egelred in this meane time lay sicke at Cossam; and his sonne
Edmund had got togither a mightie hoast, howbeit yer he came to ioine
battell with his enimies, he was aduertised, that earle Edrike went
about to betraie him, and therefore he withdrew with the armie
[Sidenote: Edrike de Streona fléeth to the Danes. _Simon Dun._]
into a place of suertie. But Edrike to make his tratorous purpose
manifest to the whole world, fled to the enimies with fortie of the
kings ships, fraught with Danish souldiers. Herevpon, all the west
[Sidenote: The west countrie]
countrie submitted it selfe vnto Cnute, who receiued pledges of the
chiefe lords and nobles, and then set forward to subdue them of
[Sidenote: The people of Mercia would not yéeld. _Matth. West_.
_Hen. Hunt._]
Mercia. The people of that countrie would not yéeld, but
determined to defend the quarrell and title of king Egelred, so long
as they might haue anie capteine that would stand with them, and helpe
[Sidenote: 1016]
to order them. In the yeare 1016, in Christmas, Cnute and earle
Edrike passed the Thames at Kirkelade, & entring into Mercia, cruellie
began with fire and sword to waste and destroie the countrie, and
[Sidenote: Warwikeshire wasted by the Danes.]
namelie Warwikeshire.

[Sidenote: King Egelred recovered of his sicknesse. He assembleth an
armie in vaine.]
In the meane time was king Egelred recouered of his sicknesse, and
sent summons foorth to raise all his power, appointing euerie man to
resort vnto him, that he might incounter the enimies and giue them
battell. But yet when his people were assembled, he was warned to take
héed vnto himselfe, and in anie wise to beware how he gaue battell,
for his owne subiects were purposed to betraie him. Herevpon the
armie brake vp, & king Egelred withdrew to London, there to abide his
enimies within the walles, with whom in the field he doubted to
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ Edmund king Egelreds sonne.]
trie the battell. His sonne Edmund got him to Vtred, an earle of great
power, inhabiting beyond Humber, and persuading him to ioine his
forces with his, forth they went to waste those countries that were
become subiect to Cnute, as Staffordshire, Leicestershire, and
Shropshire, not sparing to exercise great crueltie vpon the
inhabitants, as a punishment for their reuolting, that others might
take example thereby.

[Sidenote: Cnute, what countries he passed through.]
But Cnute perceiuing whereabout they went, politikelie deuised to
frustrate their purpose, and with dooing of like hurt in all places
where he came, passed through Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire,
Huntingtonshire, and so through the fens came to Stamford, and then
entred into Lincolnshire, and from thence into Notinghamshire, & so
into Yorkeshire, not sparing to doo what mischiefe might be deuised in
all places where he came. Vtred aduertised hereof, was constreined to
depart home to saue his owne countrie from present destruction, and
therefore comming backe into Northumberland, & perceiuing himselfe not
[Sidenote: Earle Vtred deliuered pledges to Cnute. _Aliùs_ Egricus.]
able to resist the puissant force of his enimies, was constreined
to deliuer pledges, and submit himselfe vnto Cnute. But yet was he not
hereby warranted from danger, for shortlie after he was taken, and put
to death, and then were his lands giuen vnto one Iricke or Iricius,
whome afterward Cnute did banish out of the realme, because that he
did attempt to chalenge like authoritie to him in all points as Cnute
himselfe had. After that Cnute had subdued the Northumbers, he pursued
Edmund, till he heard that he had taken London for his refuge, and
[Sidenote: Cnute prepareth to besiege London.]
staied there with his father. Then did Cnute take his ships, and came
about to the coasts of Kent, preparing to besiege the citie of London.

[Sidenote: King Egelred departed this life. _Simon Dun._
_Matth. West._]
In the meane time, king Egelred sore worne with long sicknesse,
departed this life on the 23 of Aprill, being saint Georges day, or
(as others say) on saint Gregories day, being the 12 of March, but I
take this to be an error growen, by mistaking the feast-day of saint
[Sidenote: He is buried in the church of S. Paul at London.]
Gregorie for saint George. He reigned the tearme of 37 yeares, or
little lesse. His bodie was buried in the church of saint Pauls, in
the north Ile besids the quéere, as by a memoriall there on the wall
it maie appeare. He had two wiues (as before is mentioned.) By
Elgina his first wife he had issue thrée sonnes, Edmund, Edwine, and
Adelstane; besides one daughter named Egiua. By his second wife Emma,
daughter to Richard the first of that name, duke of Normandie, and
sister to Richard the second, he had two sonnes, Alfrid and Edward.

This Egelred (as you haue heard) had euill successe in his warres
against the Danes, and besides the calamitie that fell thereby to his
people, manie other miseries oppressed this land in his daies, not so
much through his lacke of courage and slouthfull negligence, as by
reason of his presumptuous pride, whereby he alienated the hearts of
[Sidenote: The pride of king Egelred alienated the harts of his
his people from him. His affections he could not rule, but was led
by them without order of reason, for he did not onlie disherit diuerse
of his owne English subiects without apparant cause of offense by
plaine forged cauillations; and also caused all the Danes to be
murdered through his realme in one day, by some light suspicion of
their euill meanings: but also gaue himselfe to lecherous lusts, in
abusing his bodie with naughtie strumpets, forsaking the bed of his
owne lawfull wife, to the great infamie & shame of that high degrée
of maiestie, which by his kinglie office he bare and susteined. To
conclude, he was from his tender youth more apt to idle rest, than to
the exercise of warres; more giuen to pleasures of the bodie, than to
anie vertues of the mind: although that toward his latter end, being
growen into age, and taught by long experience of worldlie affaires,
and proofe of passed miseries, he sought (though in vaine) to haue
recouered the decaied state of his common wealth and countrie.

¶ In this Egelreds time, and (as it is recorded by a British
chronographer) in the yéere of our Lord 984, one Cadwalhon, the second
sonne of Ieuaf tooke in hand the gouernance of Northwales, and first
made warre with Ionauall his coosen, the sonne of Meyric, and right
heire to the land, and slue him, but Edwall the yoongest brother
escaped awaie priuilie. The yéere following, Meredith the sonne of
Owen king or prince of Southwales, with all his power entered into
Northwales, and in fight slue Cadwalhon the sonne of Ieuaf, and Meyric
his brother, and conquered the land to himselfe. Wherein a man maie
[Sidenote: Sée the historie of Cambria pag. 62, 63.]
sée how God punished the wrong, which Iago and Ieuaf the sonnes
of Edwall Voell did to their eldest brother Meyric, who was first
disherited, and afterward his eies put out, and one of his sonnes
slaine. For first Ieuaf was imprisoned by Iago; then Iago with his
sonne Constantine, by Howell the son of Ieuaf: and afterward the
said Howell, with his brethren Cadwalhon and Meyric, were slaine and
spoiled of all their lands.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edmund Ironside succedeth his father in the kingdome, the
spiritualtie favouring Cnute would haue him to be king, the Londoners
are his backe friends, they receiue Edmund their king honorablie and
ioifullie, Cnute is proclaimed king at Southampton, manie of the
states cleaue vnto him, he besiegeth London by water and land, the
citizens giue him the foile, he incountreth with king Edmund and is
discomfited, two battels fought betweene the Danes and English with
equall fortune and like successe, the traitorous stratagem of Edrike
the Dane, king Edmund aduisedlie defeateth Edriks trecherie, 20000
of both armies slaine, Cnute marching towards London is pursued of
Edmund, the Danes are repelled, incountred, and vanquished; queene
Emma prouideth for the safetie of hir sonnes; the Danes seeke a
pacification with Edmund, thereby more easilie to betraie him; Cnute
with his armie lieth neere Rochester, king Edmund pursueth them, both
armies haue a long and a sore conflict, the Danes discomfited, and
manie of them slaine; Cnute with his power assemble at Essex and there
make waste, king Edmund pursuith them, Edrike traitorouslie reuolteth
from the English to succour the Danes, king Edmund is forced to get
him out of the field, the Englishmen put to their hard shifts and
slaine by heapes; what noble personages were killed in this battell,
of two dead bodies latelie found in the place where this hot and
heauie skirmish was fought._


After that king Egelred was dead, his eldest sonne Edmund surnamed
Ironside was proclaimed king by the Londoners and others, hauing the
assistance of some lords of the realme, although the more part, and
[Sidenote: The kingdom goeth where the spiritualtie fauoreth.]
speciallie those of the spiritualtie fauoured Cnute, bicause they
had aforetime sworne fealtie to his father. Some write, that Cnute had
planted his siege both by water and land verie stronglie about the
citie of London, before Egelred departed this life, and immediatlie
vpon his deceasse was receiued into the citie; but the armie that
was within the citie, not consenting vnto the surrender made by the
citizens, departed the night before the day on the which Cnute by
appointment should enter, and in companie of Edmund Ironside (whome
they had chosen to be their king and gouernour) they prepared to
increase their numbers with new supplies, meaning eftsoones to trie
[Sidenote: The author of the booke intitled _Encomium Emmæ_ saith
that it was reported that Edmund offered the combate unto Cnute at
this his going from the citie but Cnute refused it.]
the fortune of battell against the Danish power. Cnute perceiuing
the most part of all the realme to be thus against him, and hauing
no great confidence in the loialtie of the Londoners, tooke order to
leauie monie for the paiment of his men of warre and mariners that
belonged to his nauie, left the citie, and imbarking himselfe, sailed
to the Ile of Shepie, and there remained all the winter. In which
meane while, Edmund Ironside came to London, where he was ioifullie
receiued of the citizens, and continuing there till the spring of the
yéere, made himselfe strong against the enimies.

[Sidenote: 1016.]
This Edmund for his noble courage, strength of bodie, and notable
patience to indure and suffer all such hardnesse and paines as is
requisite in a man of warre, was surnamed Ironside, & began his reigne
in the yéere of our Lord 1016, in the sixtéenth yéere of the emperor
Henrie the second surnamed Claudius, in the twentieth yéere of the
reigne of Robert king of France, & about the sixt yéere of Malcolme
the second king of the Scots. After that king Edmund had receiued the
crowne in the citie of London by the hands of the archbishop of Yorke,
he assembled togither such a power as he could make, and with the same
marched foorth towards the west parts, and made the countrie subiect
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._]
to him. In the meane time was Cnute proclaimed and ordeined king at
Southampton by the bishops and abbats, and diuerse lords also of the
temporaltie there tógither assembled, vnto whome he sware to be their
good and faithfull souereigne, and that he would sée iustice trulie
and vprightlie ministred.

[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ _Simon Dun._]
After he had ended his businesse at Southampton, he drew with his
people towards London, and comming thither, besieged the citie both by
water and land, causing a great trench to be cast about it, so that
[Sidenote: London besieged.]
no man might either get in or come foorth. Manie great assalts he
caused to be giuen vnto the citie, but the Londoners and others within
so valiantlie defended the wals and gates, that the enimies got small
aduantage, and at length were constreined to depart with losse.
[Sidenote: Cnute at Gillingham in Dorsetshire put to flight. _Polydor_.]
Cnute then perceiuing that he might not haue his purpose there,
withdrew westward, and besides Gillingham in Dorsetshire, incountred
with K. Edmund in the Rogation weeke, and after sore & sharpe battell
was put to the woorse, and constreined to forsake the field by the
high prowesse & manhood of the said Edmund. King Cnute the same night,
after the armies were seuered, departed towards Winchester, so to get
[Sidenote: Salisburie besieged.]
himselfe out of danger. Shortlie after, king Edmund hearing that an
other armie of the Danes had besieged Salisburie, marched thither to
succour them within, and immediatlie Cnute followed him, so that at
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _Matth. West._ _Wil. Malm._ A battel with
equall fortune.]
a place in Worcestershire called Scorastan, on the foure and
twentith of June, they incountred togither, and fought a verie cruell
battell, which at length the night parted with equall fortune. And
[Sidenote: An other batttel with like successes.]
likewise on the next day they buckled togither againe, and fought with
like successe as they had doone the day before, for towards euening
they gaue ouer well wearied, and not knowing to whome the victorie
ought to be ascribed.

[Sidenote: Edrike de Streona his treason. _Simon Dun._]
Writers haue reported, that this second day, when duke Edrike
perceiued the Englishmen to be at point to haue got the vpper hand, he
withdrew aside, and hauing by chance slaine a common souldier called
Osmear, which in visage much resembled king Edmund, whose head he cut
off, held it vp, & shaking his swoord bloudie with the slaughter,
cried to the Englishmen; "Flée ye wretches, flee and get awaie, for
your king is dead, behold heere his head which I hold in my hands."
Héerewith had the Englishmen fled immediatlie, if king Edmund aduised
of this stratagem, had not quicklie got him to an high ground where
his men might sée him aliue and lustie. Héerewith also the traitor
Edrike escaped hardlie the danger of death, the Englishmen shot so
egerlie at him. At length, as is said, the night parting them in
sunder, they withdrew the one armie from the other, as it had béene by
consent. The third day they remained in armor, but yet absteining
from battell, sate still, in taking meate and drinke to relieue their
wearied bodies, and after gathered in heapes the dead carcases
[Sidenote: Twentie thousand dead bodies.]
that had béene slaine in the former fight, the number of which on
either partie reckoned, rose to the point of twentie thousand and

[Sidenote: The armies dislodged.]
In the night following, Cnute remooued his campe in secret wise,
and marched towards London, which citie in a maner remained besieged
by the nauie of the Danes. King Edmund in the morning when the light
had discouered the departure of his enimies, followed them by the
tract, and comming to London with small adoo remooued the siege, and
[Sidenote: The Danes ouercome at Brentford. _Wil. Malm._ _Hen. Hunt._
_Fabian_. _Caxton_. _Polydor_.]
entered the citie like a conqueror. Shortlie after he fought with
the Danes at Brentford, and gaue them a great ouerthrow. In this meane
while queene Emma the widow of king Egelred, doubting the fortune of
the warre, sent hir two sonnes Alfred and Edward ouer into Normandie
vnto hir brother duke Richard, or rather fled thither hirselfe with
them (as some write.)

Moreouer, earle Edrike, perceiuing the great manhood of king Edmund,
began to feare, least in the end he should subdue and vanquish the
Danes, wherefore he sought meanes to conclude a peace, and take such
order with him as might stand with both their contentations, which
yer long he brought about. This was doone (as you shall heare) by the
[Sidenote: _Henr. Hunt._]
consent of Cnute (as some write) to the intent that Edrike being
put in trust with king Edmund, might the more easilie deuise waies how
to betraie him. But Cnute disappointed of his purpose at London, and
fetching a great bootie and preie out of the countries next adjoining,
repared to his ships, to sée what order was amongst them, which a
little before were withdrawen into the riuer that passeth by
[Sidenote: The river of Medwaie.]
Rochester called Medwaie. Héere Cnute remained certeine daies, both
to assemble a greater power, and also to hearken and learne what his
enimies ment to doo, the which he easilie vnderstood.

[Sidenote: King Edmund's diligence]
King Edmund, who hated nothing woorse than to linger his
businesse, assembled his people, and marching forward toward his
enimies, approched néere vnto them, & pitcht downe his tents not farre
from his enimies campe, exhorting his people to remember their passed
victories, and to doo their good willes, at length by one battell
so to ouerthrow them, that they might make an end of the warre, and
dispatch them cleerelie out of the realme. With these and the like
woords he did so incourage his souldiers, that they disdaining thus to
haue the enimies dailie prouoke them, and to put them to trouble, with
eger minds and fierce courages offered battell to the Danes, which
Cnute had prepared to receiue whensoeuer the Englishmen approched: and
heerewith bringing his men into araie, he came foorth to méet his
[Sidenote: The battell is begun.]
enimies. Then was the battell begun with great earnestnesse on both
sides, & continued foure houres, till at length the Danes began
somewhat to shrinke, which when Cnute perceiued, he commanded his
horssemen to come forward into the forepart of his dawnted host.

[Sidenote: The Danes put to flight.]
But whilest one part of the Danes gaue backe with feare, and the
other came slowlie forward, the arraie of the whole armie was broken,
& then without respect of shame they fled amaine, so that there
[Sidenote: The number of Danes slaine. _Polydor_. _Fabian_.
_Ran. Higd._ _Matt. West._ _Hen. Hunt._ _Will. Malmes._]
died that day of Cnutes side foure thousand and fiue hundred men; and
of king Edmunds side, not past six hundred, and those were footmen.
This battell was fought as should appéere by diuerse writers, at
Okefort or Oteford. It was thought, that if king Edmund had pursued
the victorie and followed in chase of his enimies in such wise as he
safelie might haue doone, he had made that day an end of the warres:
[Sidenote: Edriks counsell.]
but he was counselled by Edrike (as some write) in no condition to
follow them, but to staie and giue time to his people to refresh their
wearie bodies. Then Cnute with his armie passed ouer the Thames into
Essex, and there assembled all his power togither, and began to spoile
and waste the countrie on each hand. King Edmund aduertised thereof,
hasted foorth to succour his people, and at Ashdone in Essex three
miles from Saffron Walden, gaue battell to Cnute, where after sore and
cruell fight continued with great slaughter on both sides a long time,
duke Edrike fled to the comfort of the Danes, and to the discomfort of
the Englishmen.

Héerevpon king Edmund was constreined in the end to depart out of
the field, hauing first doone all that could be wished in a woorthie
chieftaine, both by woords to incourage his men, & by deeds to shew
them good example; so that at one time the Danes were at point to haue
giuen backe, but that Cnute aduised thereof, rushed into the left wing
where most danger was, and so relieued his people there, that finallie
the Englishmen, both wearied with long fight, and also discouraged
with the running awaie of some of their companie, were constreined to
giue ouer, and by flight to séeke their safegard, so that king Edmund
might not by anie meanes bring them againe into order. Héerevpon all
the waies and passages being forelaid and stopped by the enimies,
[Sidenote: [*_Sic_.]]
the Englishmen wanting both carriage* to make longer resistance, and
perceiuing no hope to rest in fléeing, were beaten downe and slaine in
heapes, so that few escaped from that dreadfull and bloudie battell.

[Sidenote: Noble men slaine at the battell of Ashdone. _Simon Dun._
_Wil. Malm._]
There died on king Edmunds side, duke Edmund, duke Alfrike, and
duke Goodwine, with earle Vlfekettell or Vrchell of Eastangle, and
duke Aileward, that was sonne to Ardelwine late duke of Eastangle; and
to be briefe, all the floure of the English nobilitie. There were also
slaine at this battell manie renowmed persons of the spiritualtie, as
[Sidenote: King Edmund withdraweth into Glocestershire.]
the bishop of Lincolne, and the abbat of Ramsey, with others: king
Edmund escaping awaie, got him into Glocestershire, and there began to
raise a new armie. In the place where this field was fought, are yet
seuen or eight hils, wherein the carcases of them that were slaine at
the same field were buried: and one being digged downe of late, there
were found two bodies in a coffin of stone, of which the one laie with
his head towards the others féet, and manie chaines of iron, (like to
the water-chains of the bits of horsses) were found in the same hill.
But now to the matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_London & other great cities & townes submit themselues to Cnute, he
hasteth after Edmund with his power, both their armies being readie
to incounter by occasion are staied, the oration of a capteine in the
hearing of both hosts; the title and right of the realme of England
is put to the triall of combat betweene Cnute and Edmund, Cnute is
ouermatched, his woords to king Edmund, both kings are pacified and
their armies accorded, the realme diuided betwixt Cnute and Edmund,
king Edmund traitorouslie slaine, the dissonant report of writers
touching the maners of his death, and both the kings dealing about
the partition of the realme, Cnute causeth Edrike to be slaine for
procuring king Edmunds death, wherein the reward of treason is noted;
how long king Edmund reigned, and where he was buried, the eclipsed
state of England after his death, and in whose time it recouered some
part of its brightnesse._


In the meane while that Edmund was busie to leauie a new armie in
Glocester, and other parties of Mercia, Cnute hauing got so great a
victorie (as before is mentioned) receiued into his obeisance, not
onelie the citie of London, but also manie other cities and townes of
great name, and shortlie after hasted forward to pursue his enimie
king Edmund, who was readie with a mightie host to trie the vttermost
chance of battell if they should eftsoones ioine. Héerevpon, both
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
the armies being readie to giue the onset, the one in sight of the
other at a place called Dearehurst, neere to the riuer of Seuerne, by
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ _Simon Dun._]
the drift of duke Edrike, who then at length began to shew some
token of good meaning, the two kings came to a communication, and in
the end concluded an agreement, as some haue written, without anie
more adoo. Others write, that when both the armies were at point to
[Sidenote: _Matth. West._ saith this was Edrike.]
haue ioined, one of the capteins (but whether he were a Dane or an
Englishman, it is not certeinlie told) stood vp in such a place, as
he might be heard of both the princes, & boldlie vttered his mind in
forme following.

_The oration of a capteine in the audience of the English and Danish

"We haue, most woorthie capteins, fought long inough one against
another, there hath beene but too much bloud shed betweene both
the nations, and the valiancie of the souldiers on both sides is
sufficientlie seene by triall, & either of your manhoods likewise, and
yet can you beare neither good nor euill fortune. If one of you win
the battell, he pursueth him that is ouercome; and if he chance to
be vanquished, he resteth not till he haue recouered new strength to
fight eftsoones with him that is victor. What should you meane by this
your inuincible courage? At what marke shooteth your greedie desire to
beare rule, and your excessive thirst to atteine honour? If you
fight for a kingdome, diuide it betweene you two, which sometime
was sufficient for seuen kings: but if you couet to winne fame and
glorious renowme, and for the same are driuen to try the hazard
whether ye shall command or obeie, deuise the waie whereby ye may
without so great slaughter, and without such pitifull bloudshed of
both your guiltlesse peoples, trie whether of you is most woorthie to
be preferred."

[Sidenote: The two kings appoint to try the matter by a combat.]
Thus made he an end, and the two princes allowed well of his last
motion, and so order was taken, that they should fight togither in a
singular combat within a litle Iland inclosed with the riuer of
[Sidenote: Oldney.]
Seuerne called Oldney, with condition, that whether of them chanced to
be victor, should be king, and the other to resigne his title for euer
into his hands. The two princes entering into the place appointed, in
faire armour, began the battell in sight of both their armies ranged
in goodlie order on either side the riuer, with doubtfull minds, and
nothing ioifull, as they that wauered betwixt hope and feare. The two
[Sidenote: _Matt. Westm._]
champions manfullie assailed either other, without sparing. First,
they went to it on horssebacke, and after on foot. Cnute was a man
[Sidenote: Cnute of what stature he was.]
of a meane stature, but yet strong and hardie, so that receiuing a
great blow by the hand of his aduersarie, which caused him somewhat
to stagger; yet recouered himselfe, and boldly stept forward to be
reuenged. But perceiuing he could not find aduantage, and that
[Sidenote: Cnute ouermatched.]
he was rather too weake, and shrewdlie ouermatched, he spake to
[Sidenote: Cnutes woords to Edmund.]
Edmund with a lowd voice on this wise: "What necessitie (saith he)
ought thus to mooue vs, most valiant prince, that for the obteining
of a kingdome, we should thus put our liues in danger? Better were
it that laieng armour and malice aside, we should condescend to some
reasonable agreement. Let vs become sworne brethren, and part the
[Sidenote: _H. Hunt._]
kingdome betwixt vs: and let vs deale so friendlie, that thou
maist vse my things as thine owne, and I thine as though they were
mine." King Edmund with those woords of his aduersarie was so
pacified, that immediatlie he cast awaie his swoord, and comming to
[Sidenote: They make vp the matter betwixt themselves.]
Cnute, ioined hands with him. Both the armies by their example
did the like, which looked for the same fortune to fall on their
countries, which should happen to their princes by the successe of
that one battell. After this, there was an agréement deuised betwixt
them, so that a partition of the realme was made, and that part that
lieth fore against France, was assigned to Edmund, and the other
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
fell to Cnute. There be that write, how the offer was made by king
Edmund for the auoiding of more bloudshed, that the two princes should
trie the matter thus togither in a singular combat. But Cnute refused
the combat, bicause (as he alledged) the match was not equall. For
although he was able to match Edmund in boldnesse of stomach, yet was
he farre too weake to deale with a man of such strength as Edmund was
knowne to be. But sith they did pretend title to the realme by due and
good direct meanes, he thought it most conuenient that the kingdome
should be diuided betwixt them. This motion was allowed of both the
armies, so that king Edmund was of force constreined to be contented

¶ Thus our common writers haue recorded of this agréement, but if I
should not be thought presumptuous, in taking vpon me to reprooue,
or rather but to mistrust that which hath béene receiued for a true
narration in this matter, I would rather giue credit vnto that
[Sidenote: _Encomium Emmæ_.]
which the author of the booke intituled "Encomium Emmæ," dooth report
in this behalfe. Which is that through persuasion of Edrike de
Streona, king Edmund immediatelie after the battell fought at Ashdone,
sent ambassadors vnto Cnute to offer vnto him peace, with halfe the
realme of England, that is to say, the north parts, with condition
that king Edmund might quietlie inioy the south parts, and therevpon
haue pledges deliuered interchangeablie on either side.

Cnute hauing heard the effect of this message, staied to make answer
till he heard what his councell would aduise him to doo in this
behalfe: and vpon good deliberation taken in the matter, considering
that he had lost no small number of people in the former battell, and
that being farre out of his countrie, he could not well haue anie new
supplie, where the Englishmen although they had likewise lost verie
manie of their men of warre, yet being in their owne countrie, it
should be an easie matter for them to restore their decaid number, it
was thought expedient by the whole consent of all the Danish capteins,
that the offer of king Edmund should be accepted.

Herevpon Cnute calling the ambassadors before him againe, declared
vnto them, that he was contented to conclude a peace vpon such
conditions as they had offered: but yet with this addition, that their
king whatsoeuer he should be, should paie Cnutes souldiers their
wages, with monie to be leuied of that part of the kingdome which the
English king should possesse. "For (this saith he) I haue vndertaken
to sée them paid, and otherwise I will not grant to anie peace." The
league and agréement therefore being concluded in this sort,
pledges were deliuered and receiued on both parties, and the armies
[Sidenote: This is alleged touching the partiti[=o] of the kingdome.]
discharged. But God (saith mine author) being mindfull of his old
doctrine, that Euerie kingdome diuided in it selfe cannot long stand,
shortlie after tooke Edmund out of this life: and by such meanes
séemed to take pitie of the English kingdome, lest if both the kings
should haue continued in life togither, they should haue liued in
danger. And incontinentlie herevpon was Cnute chosen and receiued for
absolute king of all the whole realme of England. Thus hath he written
that liued in those daies, whose credit thereby is much aduanced.

Howbeit the common report of writers touching the death of Edmund
varieth from this, who doo affirme, that after Cnute and Edmund were
made friends, the serpent of enuie and false conspiracie burnt so in
the hearts of some traitorous persons, that within a while after
[Sidenote: K. Edmund traitorouslie slaine at Oxford. _Fabian._
_Simon Dun._]
king Edmund was slaine at Oxford, as he sat on a priuie to doo the
necessaries of nature. The common report hath gone, that earle Edrike
was the procurer of this villanous act, and that (as some write) his
sonne did it. But the author that wrote "Encomium Emmæ," writing of
the death of Edmund, hath these words (immediatlie after he had first
declared in what sort the two princes were agréed, and had made
[Sidenote: This is alleged againe for the proofe of Edmunds natural
partition of the realme betwixt them:) But God (saith he) being
mindfull of his old doctrine, that Euerie kingdome diuided in it selfe
can not long stand, shortlie after tooke Edmund out of this life: and
by such meanes séemed to take pitie vpon the English kingdome, least
if both the kings should haue continued in life togither, they should
both haue liued in great danger, and the realme in trouble. With this
agreeth also Simon Dunel. who saith, that king Edmund died of naturall
[Sidenote: _Fabian_.]
sicknesse, by course of kind at London, about the feast of saint
Andrew next insuing the late mentioned agreement.

[Sidenote: _Ranul. Hig._ _Hen. Hunt._]
And this should séeme true: for whereas these authors which
report, that earle Edrike was the procurer of his death, doo also
write, that when he knew the act to be done, he hasted vnto Cnute, and
declared vnto him what he had brought to passe for his aduancement to
the gouernment of the whole realme. Wherevpon Cnute, abhorring such a
detestable fact, said vnto him: "Bicause thou hast for my sake, made
away the worthiest bodie of the world, I shall raise thy head aboue
all the lords of England," and so caused him to be put to death.
[Sidenote: Some thinke that he was duke of Mercia before, and now
had Essex adioined thereto.]
Thus haue some bookes. Howbeit this report agreeth not with other
writers, which declare how Cnute aduanced Edrike in the beginning of
his reigne vnto high honor, and made him gouernor of Mercia, and vsed
his counsell in manie things after the death of king Edmund, as in
banishing Edwin, the brother of king Edmund, with his sonnes also,
Edmund and Edward.

[Sidenote: Diuerse and discordant reports of Edmunds death.
_Ran. Higd._ _Wil. Malm._]
But for that there is such discordance and variable report amongst
writers touching the death of king Edmund, and some fables inuented
thereof (as the manner is) we will let the residue of their reports
passe; sith certeine it is, that to his end he came, after he had
reigned about the space of one yéere, and so much more as is betwéene
the moneth of Iune and the latter end of Nouember. His bodie was
buried at Glastenburie, neere his vncle Edgar. With this Edmund,
surnamed Ironside, fell the glorious maiestie of the English kingdome,
the which afterward as it had beene an aged bodie being sore decaied
and weakened by the Danes, that now got possession of the whole, yet
somewhat recouered after the space of 26 yéers vnder king Edward,
surnamed the Confessor: and shortlie therevpon as it had béene falne
into a resiluation, came to extreame ruine by the inuasion and
conquest of the Normans: as after by Gods good helpe and fauorable
assistance it shall appeare. So that it would make a diligent and
marking reader both muse and moorne, to see how variable the state of
this kingdome hath béene, & thereby to fall into a consideration of
the frailtie and vncerteintie of this mortall life, which is no more
frée from securitie, than a ship on the sea in tempestuous weather.
For as the casualties wherewith our life is inclosed and beset with
round about, are manifold; so also are they miserable, so also are
they sudden, so also are they vnauoidable. And true it is, that the
life of man is in the hands of God, and the state of kingdoms dooth
also belong vnto him, either to continue or discontinue. But to the
processe of the matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cnute vndertaketh the totall regiment of this land, he assembleth a
councell at London, the nobles doo him homage, be diuideth the realme
into foure parts to be gouerned by his assignes; Edwin and Edward
the sonnes of Edmund are banished, their good fortune by honorable
mariages, King Cnute marieth queene Emma the widow of Egelred, the
wise and politike conditions wherevpon this mariage was concluded, the
English bloud restored to the crowne and the Danes excluded, queene
Emma praised for hir high wisedome in choosing an enimie to hir
husband; Cnute dismisseth the Danish armie into Denmarke; Edrike de
Streona bewraieth his former trecherie, and procureth his owne death
through rashnesse and follie, the discordant report of writers
touching the maner & cause of his death, what noble men were executed
with him, and banished out of England, Cnute a monarch._


Canute, or Cnute, whome the English chronicles doo name Knought,
after the death of king Edmund, tooke vpon him the whole rule ouer
all the realme of England, in the yéere of our Lord 1017, in the
[Sidenote: 1017.]
seuentéenth yeere of the emperour Henrie the second, surnamed Claudus,
in the twentith yéere of the reigne of Robert king of France, and
about the 7 yeere of Malcolme king of Scotland. Cnute shortlie after
the death of king Edmund, assembled a councell at London, in the which
he caused all the nobles of the realme to doo him homage, in receiuing
an oth of loiall obeisance. He diuided the realme into foure parts,
assigning Northumberland vnto the rule of Irke or Iricius, Mercia vnto
Edrike, and Eastangle vnto Turkill, and reseruing the west part to his
owne gouernance. He banished (as before is said) Edwin, the brother
of king Edmund; but such as were suspected to be culpable of Edmunds
death, he caused to be put to execution: whereby it should appeere,
that Edrike was not then in anie wise detected or once thought to be

[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ _Ran. Higd._ King of churles. _Wil. Malm._]
The said Edwin afterwards returned, and was then reconciled to the
kings fauor (as some write) but shortlie after traitorouslie slaine by
his owne seruants. He was called the king of churles. Others write,
that he came secretlie into the realme after he had béene banished,
and kéeping himselfe closelie out of sight, at length ended his life,
and was buried at Tauestocke. Moreouer, Edwin and Edward the sonnes of
king Edmund were banished the land, and sent first vnto Sweno king
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._]
of Norweie to haue bin made away: but Sweno vpon remorse of conscience
sent them into Hungarie, where they found great fauor at the hands
of king Salomon, insomuch that Edwin maried the daughter of the same
Salomon, but had no issue by hir. Edward was aduanced to marie with
Agatha, daughter of the emperour Henrie, and by hir had issue two
sonnes, Edmund and Edgar surnamed Edeling, and as many daughters,
Margaret and Christine, of the which in place conuenient more shall be

[Sidenote: _Polydor_. King Cnute maried to quéene Emma the widow of
Egelred, in Iulie, anno. 1017.]
When king Cnute had established things, as he thought stood most
for his suertie, he called to his remembrance, that he had no issue
but two bastard sonnes Harold and Sweno, begotten of his concubine
Alwine. Wherefore he sent ouer to Richard duke of Normandie, requiring
to haue quéene Emma, the widow of king Egelred in mariage, and so
obteined hir, not a little to the woonder of manie, which thought a
great ouersight both in the woman and in hir brother, that would
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
satisfie the request of Cnute herein, considering he had béene such a
mortall enimie to hir former husband. But duke Richard did not onelie
consent, that his said sister should be maried vnto Cnute, but also he
himselfe tooke to wife the ladie Hestritha, sister to the said Cnute.

¶ Here ye haue to vnderstand, that this mariage was not made without
[Sidenote: The couenants made at the mariage betwixt Cnute and Emma.]
great consideration & large couenants granted on the part of king
Cnute: for before he could obteine queene Emma to his wife, it was
fullie condescended & agréed, that after Cnuts decease, the crowne of
England should remaine to the issue borne of this mariage betwixt hir
& Cnute, which couenant although it was not performed immediatlie
after the deceasse of king Cnute, yet in the end it tooke place, so
as the right séemed to be deferred, and not to be taken away nor
abolished: for immediatlie vpon Harolds death that had vsurped,
Hardicnute succéeded as right heire to the crowne, by force of the
agréement made at the time of the mariage solemnized betwixt his
father and mother, and being once established in the kingdome, he
ordeined his brother Edward to succéed him, whereby the Danes were
vtterlie excluded from all right that they had to pretend vnto the
crowne of this land, and the English bloud restored thereto, chieflie
by that gratious conclusion of this mariage betwixt king Cnute and
[Sidenote: The English bloud restored. The praise of quéene Emma for
hir wisdome.]
quéene Emma. For the which no small praise was thought to be due vnto
the said quéene, sith by hir politike gouernement, in making hir
match so beneficiall to hir selfe and hir line, the crowne was thus
recouered out of the hands of the Danes, and restored againe in time
[Sidenote: _Encomium Emmæ_.]
to the right heire, as by an auncient treatise which some haue
intituled "Encomium Emmæ," and was written in those daies, it dooth
and may appeare. Which booke although there be but few copies thereof
abroad, giueth vndoubtedlie great light to the historie of that time.

[Sidenote: _Matth. West._]
But now to our purpose. Cnute the same yeare in which he was thus
maried, through persuasion of his wife quéene Emma, sent awaie the
Danish nauie and armie home into Denmarke, giuing to them fourescore
and two thousand pounds of siluer, which was leuied throughout
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._ 1018.]
this land for their wages. In the yeare 1018, Edrike de Streona earle
of Mercia was ouerthrowen in his owne turne: for being called before
the king into his priuie chamber, and there in reasoning the
matter about some quarrell that was picked to him, he began verie
presumptuouslie to vpbraid the king of such pleasures as he had before
time doone vnto him; "I did (said he) for the loue which I bare
towards you, forsake my souereigne lord king Edmund, and at length for
your sake slue him." At which words Cnute began to change countenance,
as one maruellouslie abashed, and straightwaies gaue sentence against
Edrike in this wise; "Thou art woorthie (saith he) of death, and die
thou shalt, which art guiltie of treason both towards God and me, sith
that thou hast slaine thine own souereigne lord, and my déere alied
brother. Thy bloud therefore be vpon thine owne head, sith thy toong
hath vttered thy treason." And immediatlie he caused his throat to be
cut, and his bodie to be throwen out at the chamber window into the
[Sidenote: Edrike put to death.]
riuer of Thames. ¶ But others say, that hands were laid vpon him
in the verie same chamber or closet where he murdered the king, &
straightwaies to preuent all causes of tumults & hurlieburlies, he
was put to death with terrible torments of fierbrands & links; which
execution hauing passed vpon him, a second succeeded; for both his
féet were bound together, and his bodie drawne through the streets of
the citie, & in fine cast into a common ditch called Houndsditch; for
that the citizens threw their dead dogs and stinking carrion with
other filth into it, accounting him worthie of a worse rather than of
a better buriall. In such hatred was treason had, being a vice which
the verie infidels and grosse pagans abhorred, else would they not
haue said, _Proditionem amo, proditorem odi_; Treason I loue, but a
traitor I hate. This was the end of Edrike, surnamed de Stratten
or Streona, a man of great infamie for his craftie dissimulation,
falshood and treason, vsed by him to the ouerthrow of the English
estate, as partlie before is touched.

[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ _Encomium Emmæ_.]
But there be that concerning the cause of this Edriks death, séeme
partlie to disagrée from that which before is recited, declaring that
Cnute standing in some doubt to be betraied through the treason
of Edrike, sought occasion how to rid him and others (whome he
mistrusted) out of the way. And therefore on a day when Edrike craued
some preferment at Cnuts hands, & said that he had deserued to be
well thought of, sith by his flight from the battell at Ashendon, the
victorie therby inclined to Cnutes part: Cnute hearing him speake
these words, made this answere: "And canst thou (quoth he) be true to
me, that through fraudulent meanes diddest deceiue thy soùereigne lord
and maister? But I will reward thée according to thy deserts, so as
from henceforth thou shalt not deceiue anie other," and so forthwith
commanded Erike one of his chiefe capteines to dispatch him, who
incontinentlie cut off his head with his axe or halbert. Verelie Simon
Dunelmensis saith, that K. Cnute vnderstanding in what sort both king
Egelred, and his sonne king Edmund Ironside had béene betraied by the
said Edrike, stood in great doubt to be likewise deceiued by him, and
therefore was glad to haue some pretended quarell, to dispatch both
him and others, whome he likewise mistrusted, as it well appeared. For
at the same time there were put to death with Edrike earle Norman the
sonne of earle Leofwin, and brother to earle Leofrike: also Adelward
the sonne of earle Agelmare and Brightrike the sonne of Alfegus
gouernor of Deuonshire, without all guilt or cause (as some write.)
And in place of Norman, his brother Leofrike was made earle of Mercia
by the king, and had in great fauour. This Leofrike is commonlie also
by writers named earle of Chester. After this, Cnute likewise banished
Iric and Turkill, two Danes, the one (as before is recited) gouernor
of Northumberland, and the other of Northfolke and Suffolke or

Then rested the whole rule of the realme in the kings hands, wherevpon
he studied to preserue the people in peace, and ordeined lawes,
[Sidenote: _Hen. Hunt._ Lords put to death.]
according to the which both Danes and Englishmen should be
gouerned in equall state and degrée. Diuers great lords whome he found
vnfaithfull or rather suspected, he put to death (as before ye haue
heard) beside such as he banished out of the realme. He raised a tax
[Sidenote: A taxe raised.]
or tribute of the people, amounting to the summe of fourescore &
two thousand pounds, besides 11000 pounds, which the Londoners paid
towards the maintenance of the Danish armie. But whereas these things
chaunced not all at one time, but in sundrie seasons, we will returne
somewhat backe to declare what other exploits were atchiued in the
meane time by Cnute, not onelie in England, but also in Denmarke, and
elsewhere: admonishing the reader in the processe of the discourse
following, that much excellent matter is comprehended, whereout (if
the same be studiouslie read and diligentlie considered) no small
profit is to be reaped, both for the augmentation of his owne
knowledge and others that be studious.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cnute saileth into Denmarke to subdue the Vandals, earle Goodwins
good seruice with the English against the said Vandals, and what
benefit accrewed vnto the Englishmen by the said good seruice, he
returneth into England after the discomfiture of the enimie, he
saileth ouer againe into Denmarke and incountreth with the Sweideners,
the occasion of this warre or incounter taken by Olauus, his hard hap,
vnluckie fortune, and wofull death wrought by the hands of his owne
vnnaturall subiects; Cnuts confidence in the Englishmen, his deuout
voiage to Rome, his returne into England, his subduing of the Scots,
his death and interrement._


[Sidenote: 1019. King Cnute passeth into Denmarke.]
In the third yeare of his reigne Cnute sailed with an armie of
Englishmen and Danes into Denmarke, to subdue the Vandals there, which
[Sidenote: Earle Goodwin his seruice in Denmarke.]
then sore annoied and warred against his subiects of Denmarke.
Earle Goodwine, which had the souereigne conduct of the Englishmen,
the night before the day appointed for the battell got him forth of
the campe with his people, and suddenlie assailing the Vandals in
their lodgings, easilie distressed them, sleaing a great number of
them, and chasing the residue. In the morning earlie, when as Cnute
heard that the Englishmen were gone foorth of their lodgings, he
supposed that they were either fled awaie, or else turned to take
part with the enimies. But as he approched to the enimies campe, he
vnderstood how the mater went; for he found nothing there but
[Sidenote: Cnute had the Englishmen in estimation for their good
bloud, dead bodies, and the spoile. For which good seruice, Cnute had
the Englishmen in more estimation euer after, and highlie rewarded
their leader the same earle Goodwine. When Cnute had ordered all
things in Denmarke, as was thought behoofefull, he returned againe
into England: and within a few daies after, he was aduertised that
the Swedeners made warre against his subiects of Denmarke, vnder the
[Sidenote: 1028. Cnute passeth againe into Denmarke.]
leding of two great princes, Vlfe and Vlafe. Wherefore to defend
his dominions in those parts, he passed againe with an armie into
Denmarke, incountred with his enimies, and receiued a sore ouerthrow,
[Sidenote: _Will. Malm._]
loosing a great number both of Danes and Englishmen. But gathering
togither a new force of men, he set againe vpon his enimies, and
ouercame them, constreining the two foresaid princes to agrée vpon
[Sidenote: _Matt. Westm._]
reasonable conditions of peace. Matth. West. recounteth, that at this
time earle Goodwine and the Englishmen wrought the enterprise aboue
mentioned, of assaulting the enimies campe in the night season, after
Cnute had first lost in the day before no small number of his people:
and that then the foresaid princes or kings, as he nameth them Vlfus
[Sidenote: _Albertus Crantz_.]
and Aulafus, which latter he calleth Eiglafe, were constrained to
agrée vpon a peace. The Danish chronicles alledge, that the occasion
of this warre rose hereof. This Olauus aided Cnute (as the same
writers report) against king Edmund and the Englishmen. But when
the peace should be made betwéene Cnute and Edmund, there was no
consideration had of Olauus: whereas through him the Danes chieflie
obteined the victorie. Herevpon Olauus was sore offended in his mind
against Cnute, and now vpon occasion sought to be reuenged. But what
soeuer the cause was of this warre betwixt these two princes, the
end was thus: that Olauus was expelled out of his kingdome, and
constreined to flée to Gerithaslaus a duke in the parties of Eastland,
and afterward returning into Norwaie, was slaine by such of his
subiects as tooke part with Cnute, in manner as in the historie of
Norwaie, appeareth more at large, with the contrarietie found in the
writings of them which haue recorded the histories of those north
[Sidenote: Magnus Olauus.]

[Sidenote: _Fabian_. _Polydor_. _Hen. Hunt._]
But here is to be remembred, that the fame and glorie of the
English nation was greatlie aduanced in these warres, as well against
the Swedeners as the Norwegians, so that Cnute began to loue and trust
the Englishmen much better than it was to be thought he would euer
[Sidenote: Other say, that he went forth of Denmarke to Rome.
_Simon Dun._ Anno 1031. 1032. _Wil. Malm._ _Matth. West._ 1033.]
haue doone. Shortlie after that Cnute was returned into England, that
is to say (as some haue) in the 15 yeare of his reigne, he went to
Rome to performe his vow which he had made to visit the places
where the apostles Peter and Paule had their buriall, where he was
honorablie receiued of pope Iohn the 20 that then held the sée. When
he had doone his deuotion there, he returned into England. In the
yeare following, he made a iournie against the Scots, which as
[Sidenote: Scots subdued. _Hen. Hunt._ Anno 1035. _Wil. Malm._]
then had rebelled; but by the princelie power of Cnute they were
subdued and brought againe to obedience: so that not onelie king
Malcolme, but also two other kings Melbeath and Ieohmare became his
subiects. Finallie after that this noble prince king Cnute had
[Sidenote: The death of king Cnute. _Hen. Hunt._ _Alb. Crantz_.]
reigned the tearme of 20 yeares currant, after the death of Ethelred,
he died at Shaftsburie, as the English writers affirme, on the 12 of
Nouember, and was buried at Winchester. But the Danish chronicles
record that he died in Normandie, and was buried at Rome (as in the
same chronicles ye may reade more at large.)

       *       *       *       *       *

_The trespuissance of Cnute, the amplenesse of his dominions, the good
and charitable fruits of his voiage to Rome redounding to the common
benefit of all trauellers from England thither, with what great
personages he had conference, and the honour that was doone him there,
his intollerable pride in commanding the waters of the flouds not to
rise, he humbleth himselfe and confesseth Christ Iesus to be king of
kings, he refuseth to weare the crowne during his life, he reproueth
a gentleman flatterer, his issue legitimate and illegitimate, his
inclination in his latter yeares, what religious places he erected,
repaired, and inriched; what notable men he fauoured and reuerenced,
his lawes; and that in causes as well ecclesiasticall as temporall
he had cheefe and sole gouernement in this land, whereby the popes
vsurped title of vniuersall supremasie is impeached._


[Sidenote: The large dominion of K. Cnute. _Hen. Hunt._ _Alb. Crantz_.]
This Cnute was the mightiest prince that euer reigned ouer the
English people: for he had the souereigne rule ouer all Denmark,
England, Norwaie, Scotland, and part of Sweiden. Amongest other of his
roiall acts, he caused such tolles and tallages as were demanded of
way-goers at bridges and stréets in the high way betwixt England and
Rome to be diminished to the halfes, and againe got also a moderation
to be had in the paiment of the archbishops fees of his realme, which
was leuied of them in the court of Rome when they should receiue their
palles, as may appeare by a letter which he himselfe being at Rome,
directed to the bishops and other of the nobles of England. In the
which it also appeareth, that besides the roiall interteinment, which
he had at Rome of pope Iohn, he had conference there with the emperour
Conrad, with Rafe the king of Burgongne, and manie other great princes
and noble men, which were present there at that time: all which at his
[Sidenote: Grants made to the benefit of Englishmen, at the instance
of king Cnute. _Fabian_. _Polydor_. _Matt. West._]
request, in fauour of those Englishmen that should trauell vnto
Rome, granted (as we haue said) to diminish such duties as were
gathered of passingers.

He receiued there manie great gifts of the emperour, and was highlie
honored of him, and likewise of the pope, and of all other the high
princes at that time present at Rome: so that when he came home (as
some write) he did grow greatlie into pride, insomuch that being
[Sidenote: He caused his chaire to be set there, as _Matth. West._
saith. _Hen. Hunt._]
néere to the Thames, or rather (as other write) vpon the sea strand,
néere to Southhampton, and perceiuing the water to rise by reason of
the tide, he cast off his gowne, and wrapping it round togither, threw
it on the sands verie neere the increasing water, and sat him downe
vpon it, speaking these or the like words to the sea: "Thou art (saith
he) within the compasse of my dominion, and the ground whereon I
sit is mine, and thou knowest that no wight dare disobeie my
commandements; I therefore doo now command thée not to rise vpon my
ground, nor to presume to wet anie part of thy souereigne lord and
gouernour." But the sea kéeping hir course, rose still higher and
higher, and ouerflowed not onelie the kings féet, but also flashed vp
vnto his legs and knees. Wherewith the king started suddenlie vp, and
[Sidenote: The saieng of king Cnute.]
withdrew from it, saieng withall to his nobles that were about him:
"Behold you noble men, you call me king, which can not so much as
staie by my commandement this small portion of water. But know ye for
certeine, that there is no king but the father onelie of our Lord
Iesus Christ, with whome he reigneth, & at whose becke all things are
[Sidenote: Zealouslie inough, if it had bin according to true knowledge.]
gouerned. Let vs therefore honor him, let vs confesse and professe
him to be the ruler of heauen, earth, and sea, and besides him none

From thence he went to Winchester, and there with his owne hands set
his crowne vpon the head of the image of the crucifix, which stood
there in the church of the apostles Peter and Paule, and from
[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd_. _Polydor_. _Matth. West._]
thenceforth he would neuer weare that crowne nor anie other. Some
write that he spake not the former words to the sea vpon anie
presumptuousnesse of mind, but onelie vpon occasion of the vaine
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
title, which in his commendation one of his gentlemen gaue him by way
of flatterie (as he rightlie tooke it) for he called him the most
[Sidenote: Flatterie reproued.]
mightiest king of all kings, which ruled most at large both men,
sea, and land. Therefore to reprooue the fond flatterie of such vaine
persons, he deuised and practised the déed before mentioned, thereby
both to reprooue such flatterers, and also that men might be
admonished to consider the omnipotencie of almightie God. He had issue
by his wife quéene Emma, a sonne named by the English chronicles
Hardiknought, but by the Danish writers Canute or Knute: also a
daughter named Gonilda, that was after maried to Henrie the sonne of
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
Conrad, which also was afterwards emperour, and named Henrie the
third. By his concubine Alwine that was daughter to Alselme, whome
[Sidenote: _Alb. Cranz_.]
some name earle of Hampton, he had two bastard sonnes, Harold and
Sweno. He was much giuen in his latter daies to vertue, as he that
[Sidenote: _Polydor_. _Fabian_.]
considered how perfect felicitie rested onelie in godlines and
true deuotion to serue the heauenlie king and gouernour of all things.

He repared in his time manie churches, abbeies and houses of religion,
which by occasion of warres had béene sore defaced by him and his
father, but speciallie he did great cost vpon the abbeie of saint
Edmund, in the towne of Burie, as partlie before is mentioned. He also
built two abbeies from the foundation, as saint Benets in Norffolke,
[Sidenote: Which is supposed to be Barclow: for Ashdone it selfe
is halfe a mile from thence.]
seuen miles distant from Norwich, and an other in Norwaie. He
did also build a church at Ashdone in Essex, where he obteined
the victorie of king Edmund, and was present at the hallowing or
consecration therof with a great multitude of the lords and nobles of
the realme, both English and Danes. He also holpe with his owne hands
to remooue the bodie of the holie archbishop Elphegus, when the
[Sidenote: 1020. _Simon Dun._]
same was translated from London to Canturburie. The roiall and most
rich iewels which he & his wife quéene Emma gaue vnto the church
of Winchester, might make the beholders to woonder at such their
exceeding and bountifull munificence.

Thus did Cnute striue to reforme all such things as he and his
ancestors had doone amisse, and to wipe awaie the spot of euill
dooing, as suerlie to the outward sight of the world he did in
deed; he had the archbishop of Canturburie Achelnotus in singular
[Sidenote: Leofrike earle of Chester.]
reputation, and vsed his counsell in matters of importance. He
also highlie fauoured Leofrike earle of Chester, so that the same
Leofrike bare great rule in ordering of things touching the state of
[Sidenote: King Cnutes lawes.]
the common wealth vnder him as one of his chiefe councellors.
Diuerse lawes and statutes he made for the gouernment of the common
wealth, partlie agréeable with the lawes of king Edgar, and other the
kings that were his predecessors, and partlie tempered according to
his owne liking, and as was thought to him most expedient: among the
which there be diuerse that concerne causes as well ecclesiasticall as
temporall. Whereby (as maister Fox hath noted) it maie be gathered,
that the gouernment of spirituall matters did depend then not vpon the
bishop of Rome, but rather apperteined vnto the lawfull authoritie of
the temporall prince, no lesse than matters and causes temporall. But
of these lawes & statutes enacted by king Cnute, ye may read more
as ye find them set foorth in the before remembred booke of maister
William Lambert, which for briefenesse we héere omit.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Variance amongest the peeres of the realme about the roiall
succession, the kingdome is diuided betwixt Harold the bastard
sonne and Hardicnute the lawfullie begotten son of king Cnute late
deceassed, Harold hath the totall regiment, the authoritie of earle
Goodwine gardian to the queenes sonnes, Harold is proclaimed king,
why Elnothus did stoutlie refuse to consecrate him, why Harold was
surnamed Harefoot, he is supposed to be a shoomakers sonne, and how
it came to passe that he was counted king Cnutes bastard; Alfred
challengeth the crowne from Harold, Goodwine (vnder colour of
friendlie interteinment) procureth his retinues vtter vndooing, a
tithing of the Normans by the poll, whether Alfred was interessed in
the crowne, the trecherous letter of Harold written in the name of
queéne Emma to hir two sons in Normandie, wherevpon Alfred commeth
ouer into England, the vnfaithfull dealing of Goodwine with Alfred and
his people, teaching that in trust is treason, a reseruation of euerie
tenth Norman, the remanent slaine, the lamentable end of Alfred, and
with what torments he was put to death; Harold banisheth queene Emma
out of England he degenerateth from his father, the short time of his
reigne, his death and buriall._


[Sidenote: HAROLD. _Matth. West._ _Wil. Malm._]
After that Cnute was departed this life, there arose much variance
amongst the peeres and great lords of the realme about the succession.
The Danes and Londoners (which through continuall familiaritie with
the Danes, were become like vnto them) elected Harold the base
[Sidenote: Controuersie for the crowne.]
sonne of king Cnute, to succéed in his fathers roome, hauing earle
Leofrike, and diuerse other of the noble men of the north parts on
their side. But other of the Englishmen, and namelie earle Goodwine
earle of Kent, with the chiefest lords of the west parts, coueted
rather to haue one of king Egelreds sonnes, which were in Normandie,
[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._]
or else Hardicnute the sonne of king Cnute by his wife quéene
Emma, which remained in Denmarke, aduanced to the place. This
[Sidenote: The realme diuided betwixt Harold and Hardicnute.]
controuersie held in such wise, that the realme was diuided (as some
write) by lot betwixt the two brethren Harold and Hardicnute. The
north part, as Mercia and Northumberland fell to Harold, and the south
part vnto Hardicnute: but at length the whole remained vnto Harold,
bicause his brother Hardicnute refused to come out of Denmarke to take
the gouernment vpon him.

[Sidenote: The authoritie of earle Goodwine. _H. Hunt._]
But yet the authoritie of earle Goodwine, who had the queene
and the treasure of the realme in his kéeping, staied the matter a
certeine time, (professing himselfe as it were gardian to the yoong
men, the sonnes of the quéene, till at length he was constreined to
giue ouer his hold, and conforme himselfe to the stronger part and
greater number.) And so at Oxford, where the assemblie was holden
about the election, Harold was proclaimed king, and consecrated
[Sidenote: The refusall of the archbishop Elnothus to consecrate king
according to the maner (as some write.) But it should appeere by
other, that Elnothus the archbishop of Canturburie, a man indued with
all vertue and wisedome, refused to crowne him: for when king Harold
being elected of the nobles and péeres, required the said archbishop
that he might be of him consecrated, and receiue at his hands the
regall scepter with the crowne, which the archbishop had in his
custodie, and to whome it onelie did apperteine to inuest him
therewith, the archbishop flatlie refused, and with an oth protested,
that he would not consecrate anie other for king, so long as the
quéenes children liued: "for (saith he) Cnute committed them to my
trust and assurance, and to them will I kéepe my faith and loiall
obedience. The scepter and crowne I héere lay downe vpon the altar,
and neither doo I denie nor deliuer them vnto you: but I forbid by the
apostolike authoritie all the bishops, that none of them presume to
take the same awaie, and deliuer them to you, or consecrate you for
king. As for your selfe, if you dare, you maie vsurpe that which I
haue committed vnto God and his table."

But whether afterwards the king by one meane or other, caused the
archbishop to crowne him king, or that he was consecrated of some
other, he was admitted king of all the English people, beginning
[Sidenote: 1036.]
his reigne in the yéere of our Lord a thousand thirtie and six, in the
fouretenth yéere of the emperor Conrad the second, in the sixt yéere
of Henrie the first, king of France, and about the seuen and twentith
yéere of Malcolme the second, king of Scots. This Harold for his
[Sidenote: Harold why he is surnamed Harefoot.]
great swiftnesse, was surnamed Harefoot, of whome little is written
touching his dooings, sauing that he is noted to haue béene an
oppressor of his people, and spotted with manie notable vices. It
[Sidenote: Harold euill spoken of. _Ran. Higd._ _ex Mariano_.]
was spoken of diuerse in those daies, that this Harold was not the
sonne of Cnute, but of a shoomaker, and that his supposed mother
Elgina, king Cnutes concubine, to bring the king further in loue with
hir, feined that she was with child: and about the time that she
should be brought to bed (as she made hir account) caused the said
shoemakers son to be secretlie brought into hir chamber, and then
vntrulie caused it to be reported that she was deliuered, and the
child so reputed to be the kings sonne.

[Sidenote: _Matth. West._]
Immediatlie vpon aduertisement had of Cnutes death, Alfred the
sonne of king Egelred, with fiftie saile landed at Sandwich, meaning
to challenge the crowne, and to obteine it by lawfull claime with
quietnesse, if he might; if not, then to vse force by aid of his
friends, and to assaie that waie foorth to win it, if he might not
otherwise obteine it. From Sandwich he came to Canturburie: and
shortlie after, earle Goodwine feining to receiue him as a friend,
came to meet him, and at Gilford in the night season appointed a
number of armed men to fall vpon the Normans as they were asléepe, and
so tooke them togither with Alfred, & slue the Normans by the poll,
in such wise that nine were shine, & the tenth reserued. But yet when
those that were reserued, seemed to him a greater number than he
wished to escape, he fell to and againe tithed them as before. Alfred
had his eies put out, and was conueied to the Ile of Elie, where
shortlie after he died.

[Sidenote: _Ran. Higd._]
¶ How Alfred should claime the crowne to himselfe I sée not: for
verelie I can not be persuaded that he was the elder brother, though
diuers authors haue so written, sith Gemeticensis, & the author of the
booke called "Encomium Emmæ," plainlie affirme, that Edward was the
elder: but it might be, that Alfred being a man of a stouter stomach
[Sidenote: Sée maister _Fox_ acts and monuments, pag. 112. _Simon Dun._]
than his brother Edward, made this attempt, either for himselfe,
or in the behalfe of his brother Edward, being as then absent, and
gone into Hungarie, as some write: but other say, that as well Edward
as Alfred came ouer at this time with a number of Norman knights, and
men of warre imbarked in a few ships, onelie to speake with their
mother, who as then lay at Winchester, whether to take aduise with hir
how to recouer their right heere in this land, or to aduance their
brother Hardicnute, or for some other purpose, our authors doo not

But the lords of the realme that bare their good wils vnto Harold,
and (though contrarie to right) ment to mainteine him in the estate,
seemed to be much offended with the comming of these two brethren
in such order: for earle Goodwine persuaded them, that it was great
danger to suffer so manie strangers to enter the realme, as they had
brought with them. Wherevpon earle Goodwine with the assent of the
other lords, or rather by commandement of Harold, went foorth, and at
Gilford met with Alfred that was comming towards king Harold to speake
with him, accordinglie as he was of Harold required to doo. But now
being taken, and his companie miserablie murthered (as before ye haue
heard) to the number of six hundred Normans, Alfred himselfe was sent
into the Ile of Elie, there to remaine in the abbeie in custodie of
the moonks, hauing his eies put out as soone as he entered first into
the same Ile. William Malmesburie saith, that Alfred came ouer, and
was thus handeled betwixt the time of Harolds death, & the comming
in of Hardicnute. Others write, that this chanced in his brother
Hardicnuts daies, which séemeth not to be true: for Hardicnute was
knowne to loue his brethren by his mothers side too dearelie to haue
suffered anie such iniurie to be wrought against either of them in his

¶ Thus ye sée how writers dissent in this matter, but for the better
clearing of the truth touching the time, I haue thought good to shew
also what the author of the said booke intituled "Encomium Emmæ"
writeth hereof, which is as followeth. When Harold was once
established king, he sought meanes how to rid quéene Emma out of the
way, and that secretlie, for that openlie as yet he durst not attempt
anie thing against hir. She in silence kept hir selfe quiet, looking
for the end of these things. But Harold remembring himselfe, of a
malicious purpose, by wicked aduise tooke counsell how he might get
into his hands and make away the sons of quéene Emma, & so to be out
of danger of all annoiance that by them might be procured against him.
Wherefore he caused a letter to be written in the name of their
[Sidenote: A counterfet letter.]
mother Emma, which he sent by certeine messengers suborned for the
same purpose into Normandie, where Edward and Alfred as then remained.
The tenour of which letter here insueth.

_The tenour of a letter forged and sent in queene Emmas name to hir
two sonnes_.

"Emma tantùm nomine regina filijs Edwardo & Alfredo materna impertit
salutamina. D[=u] domini nostri regis obitum separatim plangimus
(filij charissimi) dúmq; dietim magis magisque regno hæreditatis
vestræ priuamini, miror quid captetis consilij, dum sciatis
intermissionis vestræ dilatione inuasoris vestri imperij fieri
quotidiè soliditat[=e]. Is enim incessanter vicos & vrbes circuit, &
sibi amicos principes muneribus, minis, & precibus facit: sed vnum
è vobis super se mallent regnare quàm istius (qui nunc ijs imperat)
teneri ditione. Vnde rogo vnus vestrum ad me velociter & priuatè
veniat, vt salubre à me consilium accipiat, & sciat quo pacto hoc
negotium quod volo fieri debeat, per præsentem quóque internuncium
quid super his facturi estis remandate. Valete cordis mei viscera."

_The same in English_.

"Emma in name onelie queene to hir sons Edward and Alfred sendeth
motherlie greeting. Whilest we separatelie bewaile the death of our
souereigne lord the king (most deare sonnes) and whilest you
are euerie day more and more depriued from the kingdome of your
inheritance, I maruell what you doo determine, sith you know by the
delay of your ceassing to make some enterprise, the grounded force
of the vsurper of your kingdom is dailie made the stronger. For
incessantlie he goeth from towne to towne, from citie to citie, and
maketh the lords his friends by rewards, threats, and praiers, but
they had rather haue one of you to reigne ouer them, than to be kept
vnder the rule of this man that now gouerneth them. Wherefore my
request is, that one of you doo come with speed, and that priuilie
ouer to me, that he may vnderstand my wholesome aduise, and know in
what sort this matter ought to be handled, which I would haue to go
forward, and see that ye send mee word by this present messenger what
you meane to doo herein. Fare ye well euen the bowels of my heart."

These letters were deliuered vnto such as were made priuie to the
purposed treason, who being fullie instructed how to deale, went ouer
into Normandie, and presenting the letters vnto the yoong gentlemen,
vsed the matter so, that they thought verelie that this message had
béene sent from their mother, and wrote againe by them that brought
the letters, that one of them would not faile but come ouer vnto hir
according to that she had requested, and withall appointed the day and
time. The messengers returning to king Harold, informed him how they
had sped. The yoonger brother Alfred, with his brothers consent, tooke
with him a certeine number of gentlemen and men of warre, and first
came into Flanders, where after he had remained a while with earle
Baldwine, he increased his retinue with a few Bullogners, and passed
ouer into England, but approching to the shore, he was streightwaies
descried by his enimies, who hasted foorth to set vpon him; but
perceiuing their drift, he bad the ships cast about, and make againe
to the sea; then landing at an other place, he ment to go the next way
to his mother.

[Sidenote: Godwin was suspected to do this vnder a colour to betray
him as by writers it séemeth.]
But earle Goodwine hearing of his arriuall, met him, receiued
him into his assurance, and binding his credit with a corporall oth,
became his man, and therwith leading him out of the high way that
leadeth to London, he brought him to Gilford, where he lodged all the
strangers, by a score, a doozen, and halfe a score togither in innes,
so as but a few remained about the yoong gentleman Alfred to attend
vpon him. There was plentie of meat and drinke prepared in euerie
lodging, for the refreshing of all the companie. And Goodwine taking
his leaue for that night, departed to his lodging, promising the next
morning to come againe to giue his dutifull attendance on Alfred.

But behold, after they had filled themselues with meats and drinks,
[Sidenote: Not onelie Goodwine but other such as king Harold appointed,
took Alfred with his Normans.]
and were gone to bed, in the dead of the night came such as king
Harold had appointed, and entring into euerie inne, first seized vpon
the armor and weapons that belonged to the strangers: which done,
they tooke them, and chained them fast with fetters and manacles, so
kéeping them sure till the next morning. Which being come, they
were brought foorth with their hands bound behind their backs, and
deliuered to most cruell tormentors, who were commanded to spare none
but euerie tenth man, as he came to hand by lot, and so they slue nine
and left the tenth aliue. Of those that were left aliue, some they
kept to serue as bondmen, other for couetousnesse of gaine they sold,
and some they put in prison, of whome yet diuerse afterwards escaped.
This with more hath the foresaid author written of this matter,
declaring further, that Alfred being conueied into the Ile of Elie,
had not onelie his eies put out in most cruell wise, but was also
presentlie there murthered. But he speaketh not further of the maner
how he was made away, sauing that he saith he forbeareth to make long
recitall of this matter, bicause he will not renew the mothers gréefe
in hearing it, sith there can be no greater sorrow to the mother than
to heare of hir sonnes death.

¶ I remember in Caxton we read, that his cruell tormentors should
cause his bellie to be opened, & taking out one end of his bowels or
guts, tied the same to a stake which they had set fast in the ground;
then with néedels of iron pricking his bodie, they caused him to run
about the stake, till he had woond out all his intrailes, & so ended
he his innocent life, to the great shame & obloquie of his cruel
aduersaries. But whether he was thus tormented or not, or rather died
(as I thinke) of the anguish by putting out his eies, no doubt but his
death was reuenged by Gods hand in those that procured it. But whether
erle Goodwine was chéefe causer thereof, in betraieng him vnder a
cloked colour of pretended fréendship, I cannot say: but that he tooke
him and slue his companie, as some haue written, I cannot thinke it to
be true, both as well for that which ye haue heard recited out of the
author that wrote "Encomium Emmæ," as also for that it should séeme he
might neuer be so directlie charged with it, but that he had matter to
alledge in his owne excuse. But now to other affaires of Harold.

[Sidenote: _Simon Dun._ Quéene Emma banished.]
After he had made away his halfe brother Alfred, he spoiled
his mother in law quéene Emma of the most part of hir riches, and
therewith banished hir quite out of the realme: so that she sailed
ouer to Flanders, where she was honourablie receiued of earle
Baldwine, and hauing of him honourable prouision assigned hir, she
continued there for the space of thrée yeeres, till that after
[Sidenote: _Polydor_. Harold degenerateth from his father. _Hen. Hunt._]
the death of Harold, she was sent for by hir sonne Hardiknought, that
succéeded Harold in the kingdome. Moreouer, Harold made small account
of his subiects, degenerating from the noble vertues of his father,
following him in few things (except in exacting of tributes and
paiments.) He caused indeed eight markes of siluer to be leuied of
[Sidenote: A nauie in a readinesse. Euill men, the longer they liue,
the more they grow into miserie. _Wil. Malm._ _Hen. Hunt._]
euerie port or hauen in England, to the reteining of 16 ships
furnished with men of warre, which continued euer in readinesse to
defend the coasts from pirats. To conclude with this Harold, his
spéedie death prouided well for his fame, bicause (as it was thought)
if his life had béene of long continuance, his infamie had béene the
greater. But after he had reigned foure yéeres, or (as other gathered)
three yéeres and thrée moneths, he departed out of this world at
Oxford, & was buried at Winchester (as some say.) Other say he died at
[Sidenote: _Wil. Malm._]
Meneford in the moneth of Aprill, and was buried at Westminster,
which should appeare to be true by that which after is reported of his
brother Hardiknoughts cruell dealing, and great spite shewed toward
his dead bodie, as after shall be specified.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Hardicnute is sent for into England to be made king; alteration
in the state of Norwaie and Denmarke by the death of king Cnute,
Hardicnute is crowned, he sendeth for his mother queene Emma,
Normandie ruled by the French king, Hardicnute reuengeth his mothers
exile upon the dead bodie of his stepbrother Harold, queene Emma and
erle Goodwine haue the gouernment of things in their hands, Hardicnute
leuieth a sore tribute upon his subiects; contempt of officers &
deniall of a prince his tribute sharpelie punished; prince Edward
commeth into England; the bishop of Worcester accused and put from his
see for being accessarie to the murthering of Alfred, his restitution
procured by contribution; Earle Goodwine being accused for the same
trespasse excuseth himselfe, and iustifieth his cause by swearing, but
speciallie by presenting the king with an inestimable gift; the cause
why Goodwine purposed Alfreds death; the English peoples care about
the succession to the crowne, moonke Brightwalds dreame and vision
touching that matter; Hardicnute poisoned at a bridall, his
conditions, speciallie his hospitalitie, of him the Englishmen learned
to eate and drinke immoderatlie, the necessitie of sobrietie, the end
of the Danish regiment in this land, and when they began first to
inuade the English coasts._


After that Harold was dead, all the nobles of the realme, both
Danes and Englishmen agréed to send for Hardiknought, the sonne of
Canute by his wife quéene Emma, and to make him king. Héere is to be
noted, that by the death of king Canute, the state of things was much
altered in those countries of beyond the seas wherein he had the rule
[Sidenote: Alteration in the state of things. _Simon Dun._, &
_Matt. West._ say, that he was at Bruges in Flanders with his
mother when he was thus sent for, having come thither to visit hir.
and dominion. For the Norwegians elected one Magnus, the sonne of
Olauus to be their king, and the Danes chose this Hardiknought, whome
their writers name Canute the third, to be their gouernor. This
Hardiknought or Canute being aduertised of the death of his halfe
brother Harold, and that the lords of England had chosen him to their
king, with all conuenient speed prepared a nauie, and imbarking a
certeine number of men of warre, tooke the sea, and had the wind so
fauorable for his purpose, that he arriued upon the coast of Kent the
sixt day after he set out of Denmarke, and so comming to London, was
ioifullie receiued, and proclaimed king, and crowned of Athelnotus
archbishop of Canturburie, in the yere of our Lord 1041, in the first
yéere of the emperour Henrie the third, in the 9 yeere of Henrie
the first of that name king of France, and in the first yéere of
Magfinloch, aliàs Machabeda king of Scotland. Incontinentlie after
[Sidenote: Quéene Emma sent for.]
his establishment in the rule of this realme, he sent into Flanders
for his mother quéene Emma, who during the time of hir banishment,
had remained there. For Normandie in that season was gouerned by the
French king, by reason of the minoritie of duke William, surnamed the

Moreouer, in reuenge of the wrong offered to quéene Emma by hir sonne
[Sidenote: The bodie of king Harold taken vp, and throwen into Thames.]
in law Harold, king Hardicnute did cause Alfrike archbishop of
Yorke and earle Goodwine, with other noble men to go to Westminster,
and there to take vp the bodie of the same Harold, and withall
appointed, that the head thereof should be striken off, and the trunke
of it cast into the riuer of Thames. Which afterwards being found by
fishers, was taken vp and buried in the churchyard of S. Clement
[Sidenote: S. Clement Danes.]
Danes without Temple barre at London. He committed the order and
gouernement of things to the hands of his mother Emma, and of Goodwine
[Sidenote: A tribute raised. _Hen. Hunt._]
that was erle of Kent. He leuied a sore tribute of his subiects
here in England to pay the souldiers and mariners of his nauie, as
first 21 thousand pounds, & 99 pounds, and afterward vnto 32 ships
[Sidenote:_ Simon Dun._ _Wil. Malm._ _Matth. West._
_Sim. Dun._]
there was a paiment made of a 11 thousand and 48 pounds. To euerie
mariner of his nauie he caused a paiment of 8 marks to be made, and to
euerie master 12 marks. About the paiment of this monie great grudge
grew amongst the people, insomuch that two of his seruants, which were
appointed collectors in the citie of Worcester, the one named Feader,
and the other Turstane, were there slaine. In reuenge of which
contempt a great part of the countrie with the citie was burnt, and
the goods of the citizens put to the spoile by such power of lords and
men of warre as the king had sent against them.

Shortlie after, Edward king Hardicnutes brother came foorth of
Normandie to visit him and his mother quéene Emma, of whome he was
most ioifullie and honorablie welcomed and interteined, and
[Sidenote: _Matt. West._ _Ran. Higd._ _Marianus_.]
shortlie after made returne backe againe. It should appeare by some
writers, that after his comming ouer out of Normandie he remained
still in the realme, so that he was not in Normandie when his halfe
brother Hardicnute died, but here in England: although other make
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
other report, as after shall bée shewed. Also (as before ye haue
heard) some writers seeme to meane, that the elder brother Alfred came
ouer at the same time. But suerlie they are therein deceiued: for
it was knowne well inough how tenderlie king Hardicnute loued his
brethren by the mothers side, so that there was not anie of the lords
[Sidenote: The bishop of Worcester accused for making away of Alfred.]
in his daies, that durst attempt anie such iniurie against them.
True it is, that as well earle Goodwine, as the bishop of Worcester
(that was also put in blame and suspected for the apprehending and
making away of Alfred, as before ye haue heard) were charged by
Hardicnute as culpable in that matter, insomuch that the said bishop
was expelled out of his sée by Hardicnute: and after twelue moneths
space was restored, by meanes of such summes of monie as he gaue by
waie of amends.

[Sidenote: Earle Goodwin excuseth himselfe.]
Earle Goodwine was also put to his purgation, by taking an oth
that he was not guiltie. Which oth was the better allowed, by reason
of such a present as he gaue to the king for the redéeming of his
[Sidenote: The gift which earle Goodwin gaue to the king.]
fauour and good will, that is to say, a ship with a sterne of gold,
conteining therein 80 souldiers, wearing on each of their armes two
bracelets of gold of 16 ounces weight, a triple habergion guilt on
their bodies, with guilt burgenets on their heads, a swoord with guilt
hilts girded to their wastes, a battell-axe after the maner of the
Danes on their left shoulder, a target with bosses and mails guilt in
their left hand, a dart in their right hand: and thus to conclude,
they were furnished at all points with armor and weapon accordinglie.
[Sidenote: _Polydor_.]
It hath béene said, that earle Goodwine minded to marie his
daughter to one of these brethren, and perceiuing that the elder
brother Alfred would disdaine to haue hir, thought good to dispatch
him, that the other taking hir to wife, hée might be next heire to the
crowne, and so at length inioy it, as afterwards came to passe.

Also about that time, when the linage of the kings of England was in
maner extinct, the English people were much carefull (as hath béene
said) about the succession of those that should inioie the crowne.
Wherevpon as one Brightwold a moonke of Glastenburie, that was
afterward bishop of Wincester, or (as some haue written) of Worcester,
studied oftentimes thereon: it chanced that he dreamed one night as he
slept in his bed, that he saw saint Peter consecrate & annoint Edward
the sonne of Egelred (as then remaining in exile in Normandie) king of
England. And as he thought, he did demand of saint Peter, who should
succéed the said Edward? Wherevnto answer was made by the apostle;
Haue thou no care for such matters, for the kingdome of England is
Gods kingdome. Which suerlie in good earnest may appeare by manie
great arguments to be full true vnto such as shall well consider the
state of this realme from time to time, how there hath béene euer
gouernours raised vp to mainteine the maiestie of the kingdome, and
to reduce the same to the former dignitie, when by anie infortunate
mishap it hath beene brought in danger.

[Sidenote: The death of K. Hardicnute. _Sim. Dunel._
_Matth. West._ 1042.]
But to returne now to king Hardicnute, after he had reigned two
yéers lacking 10 daies, as he sat at the table in a great feast holden
at Lambeth, he fell downe suddenlie with the pot in his hand, and so
died not without some suspicion of poison. This chanced on the 8
of Iune at Lambeth aforesaid, where, on the same day a mariage was
solemnized betwéene the ladie Githa, the daughter of a noble man
called Osgot Clappa, and a Danish lord also called Canute Prudan. His
bodie was buried at Winchester besides his father. He was of nature
[Sidenote: K. Hardicnute his conditions and liberalitie in
housekeeping. _Hen. Hunt._]
verie curteous, gentle and liberall, speciallie in keeping good
chéere in his house, so that he would haue his table couered foure
times a day, & furnished with great plentie of meates and drinks,
wishing that his seruants and all strangers that came to his palace,
[Sidenote: Of whom the Englishmen learned excessiue féeding.]
might rather leaue than want. It hath béene commonlie told, that
Englishmen learned of him their excessiue gourmandizing & vnmeasurable
filling of their panches with meates and drinkes, whereby they forgat
the vertuous vse of sobrietie, so much necessarie to all estates and
degrées, so profitable for all common-wealthes, and so commendable
both in the sight of God, and all good men.

[Sidenote: The end of the Danish rulers.]
In this Hardicnute ceased the rule of the Danes within this land,
with the persecution which they had executed against the English
nation, for the space of 250 yeres & more, that is to say, euer since
the tenth yeere of Brithrike the king of Westsaxons, at what time they
first began to inuade the English coasts. Howbeit (after others) they
should séeme to haue ruled here but 207, reckoning from their bringing
in by the Welshmen in despite of the Saxons, at which time they first
began to inhabit here, which was 835 of Christ, 387 after the comming
of the Saxons, and 35 néere complet of the reigne of Egbert.

¶ But to let this péece of curiositie passe, this land felt that they
had a time of arriuall, a time of inuading, a time of ouerrunning, and
a time of ouerruling the inhabitants of this maine continent. Wherof
manifest proofes are at this day remaining in sundrie places, sundrie
ruines I meane and wastes committed by them; vpon the which whensoeuer
a man of a relenting spirit casteth his eie, he can not but enter
into a dolefull consideration of former miseries, and lamenting the
defacements of this Ile by the crueltie of the bloudthirstie enimie,
cannot but wish (if he haue but "Minimam misericordiæ guttam quæ maior
est spatioso oceano," as one saith) and earnestlie desire in his heart
that the like may neuer light vpon this land, but may be auerted and
turned away from all christian kingdomes, through his mercie, whose
wrath by sinne being set on fire, is like a consuming flame; and the
swoord of whose vengeance being sharpened with the whetstone of mens
wickednesse, shall hew them in péeces as wood for the fornace.

_Thus farre the tumultuous and tyrannicall regiment of the Danes,
inferring fulnesse of afflictions to the English people, wherewith
likewise the seuenth booke is shut vp._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chronicles (1 of 6): The Historie of England (7 of 8) - The Seventh Boke of the Historie of England" ***

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