THE SIXT BOOKE
HISTORIE OF ENGLAND.
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Inas king of the Westsaxons, the whole monarchie of the realme falleth into their hands, Inas for a summe of monie granteth peace to the Kentishmen, whom he was purposed to haue destroied, he & his coosen Nun fight with Gerent king of the Britains, and Cheolred king of Mercia, and Ealdbright king of Southsaxons, the end of their kingdoms, Inas giueth ouer his roialtie, goeth in pilgrimage to Rome, and there dieth; his lawes written in the Saxon toong; of what buildings he was the founder, queene Ethelburgas deuise to persuade Inas to forsake the world, he was the first procurer of Peter pence to be paid to Rome; king Ethelred, king Kenred, and king Offa become moonks; the setting vp of images in this land authorised by a vision; king Ethelbalds exploits, he is slaine of his owne subiects by the suggestion of Bernred the vsurper, Boniface his letter of commendation to king Ethelbald, nuns kept for concubines, their pilgrimage.
THE FIRST CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: INAS. 689.] After that Ceadwalla, late K. of the Westsaxons was gone to Rome, where he departed this life (as afore is shewed) his coosen Inas or Ine was made king of the Westsaxons, begining his reigne in the yeere of our Lord 689, in the third yeere of the emperor Iustinianus the third, the 11 yeere of the reigne of Theodoricus K. of France, and [Sidenote: The Britains ceasse to reigne in this land] about the second yeere of the reigne of Eugenius king of Scots. Now because the rule of the Britains commonlie called Welshmen, ceassed in this realme, as by confession of their owne writers it appeereth, and that in the end the whole monarchie of the same realme came to the hands of the kings of Westsaxons, we haue thought meet to refer things generall vnto the reignes of the same kings, as before we did in the Britaine kings, reseruing the particular dooings to the kings of the other prouinces or kingdoms, as the same haue fallen out, and shall come to hand.
[Sidenote: Fabian. H. Hunt.] This Inas, whome some (mistaking N for V) doo wrongfullie name Iue or Iewe, prooued a right excellent prince, he was descended of the ancient linage of the kings of the Westsaxons, as sonne to one Kenred, that was sonne to Ceolwald the son of Cutha or Cutwine, that was sonne to Kenricke the sonne of Certicus, the first king of Westsaxons. But he was admitted to the kingdome more for the valiant prowes knowne to rest in his woorthie person, than for the successiue ofspring of which he was descended. The first voiage that he made, was against the Kentishmen, on whome he purposed to reuenge the death of his coosen [Sidenote: Matt. Westm. Wil. Malm.] Mollo, the griefe whereof as yet he kept in fresh memorie. But when the Kentishmen perceiued, that to resist him by force, they were nothing able, they attempted by monie to buy their peace, and so obteined their purpose, vpon paiment made to him of thirtie thousand marks of siluer.
[Sidenote: Anno 708 as is noted by Matt. West. H. Hunt.] After this, about the 21 yeere of his reigne, king Inas and his coosen Nun fought with Gerent king of the Britains. In the beginning of the battell, one Higelbald a noble man of the Westsaxons part was slaine, but in the end Gerent with his Britains was chased. In the [Sidenote: Matt. West. saith 718] 26 yeere of his reigne; the same Inas fought a mightie battell against Cheolred king of Mercia, at Wodenessburie, with doubtfull victorie, for it could not well be iudged whether part susteined greater losse. In the 36 yeere of his reigne, king Inas inuaded the Southsaxons with a mightie armie, and slue in battell Ealdbright or Aldinius king of [Sidenote: Matth. West. saith 722. The end of the kingdome of the Southsaxons.] the Southsaxons, and ioined that kingdome vnto the kingdome of the Westsaxons: so that from thencefoorth the kingdome of those Southsaxons ceassed, after they had reigned in that kingdome by the space of five kings successiuelie, that is to say, Ella, Cissa, Ethelwalke, Berutius, and this last Aldinius or Ealdbright.
Finallie, when Inas had reigned 37 yeeres, and 10 or 11 od moneths, [Sidenote: Inas went to Rome and there died.] he renounced the rule of his kingdome, togither with all worldlie pompe, and went vnto Rome as a poore pilgrime, and there ended his life: but before this, during the time of his reigne, he shewed himselfe verie deuout and zealous towards the aduancement of the christian religion. He made and ordeined also good & wholesome lawes for the amendment of maners in the people, which are yet extant and to be read, written in the Saxon toong, and translated into the Latine in times past, and now latelie againe by William Lambert gentleman, and printed by Iohn Day, in the yeere 1568, togither with the lawes and statutes of other kings before the conquest, as to the learned maie appeere.
[Sidenote: Polydor.] Moreouer, king Ine builded the monasterie of Glastenburie, where Ioseph of Arimathea in times past builded an oratorie or chappell (as before is recited) when he with other christians came into this land in the daies of Aruiragus, & taught the gospell heere to the Britains, conuerting manie of them to the faith. Moreouer, king Ine or Inas builded the church of Welles, dedicating it vnto saint Andrew, where afterwards a bishops see was placed, which at length was [Sidenote: Ethelburga.] translated vnto Salisburie. He had to wife one Ethelburga, a woman of noble linage, who had beene earnest with him a long time to persuade him to forsake the world: but she could by no meanes bring hir purpose to passe, till vpon a time the king and she had lodged at a manor [Sidenote: Will. Malmes.] place in the countrie, where all prouision had beene made for the receiuing of them and their traine in most sumptuous maner that might be, as well in rich furniture of houshold, as also in costlie viands, and all other things needfull, or that might serue for pleasure, [Sidenote: The deuise of queene Ethelburga to persuade hir husband to forsake the world.] and when they were departed, the queene the foresaid Ethelburga caused the keeper of that house to remooue all the bedding, hangings, and other such things as had been brought thither and ordeined for the beautifull setting foorth of the house, and in place thereof to bring ordure, straw, & such like filth, as well into the chambers and hall, as into all the houses of office, and that doone, to laie a sow with pigs in the place where before the kings bed had stood. Heerevpon when she had knowledge that euerie thing was ordered according to hir appointment, she persuaded the king to returne thither againe, feining occasions great and necessarie.
Now when he was returned to that house, which before seemed to the eie a palace of most pleasure, and now finding it in such a filthie state as might loath the stomach of anie man to behold the same, she tooke occasion therevpon to persuade him to the consideration of the vaine pleasures of this world, which in a moment turne to naught, togither with the corruption of the flesh, being a filthie lumpe of claie, after it should once be disolued by death: and in fine, where before she had spent much labour to mooue him to renounce the world, though all in vaine, yet now the beholding of that change in his pleasant palace, wherein so late he had taken great delight, wrought such an alteration in his mind, that hir woords lastlie tooke effect: so that he resigned the kingdome to his coosen Ethelard, and went himselfe to Rome (as aboue is mentioned) and his wife became a nun in the abbeie of Barking, where she was made abbesse, and finallie there ended hir [Sidenote: Peter pence.] life. This Inas was the first that caused the monie called Peter pence, to be paid vnto the bishop of Rome, which was for euerie houshold within his dominion a penie.
[Sidenote: King Ethelred becommeth a moonk.] In this meane time Edilred or Ethelred, hauing gouerned the kingdome of Mercia by the tearme of 29 yeeres, became a moonke in the abbeie of Bardenie, and after was made abbat of that house. He had [Sidenote: Ostrida.] to wife one Ostrida the sister of Egfride king of Northumberland, by whome he had a sonne named Ceolred. But he appointed Kenred the sonne of his brother Vulfher to succeed him in the kingdome. The said [Sidenote: Beda in Epit. 697.] Ostrida was cruellie slaine by the treason of hir husbands subiects, [Sidenote: King Kenred.] about the yeere of our Lord 697. And as for Kenred, he was a prince of great vertue, deuout towards God, a furtherer of the commonwealth of his countrie, and passed his life in great sinceritie of maners. In the fift yeere of his reigne, he renounced the world, and went to Rome, togither with Offa king of the Eastsaxons, where [Sidenote: 711.] he was made a moonke: and finallie died there, in the yeere of our [Sidenote: Nauclerus. Egwin bishop of Worcester.] Lord 711. By the aid and furtherance of this Kenred, a moonke of saint Benets order (called Egwin) builded the abbeie of Eueshame, who afterwards was made bishop of Worcester.
[Sidenote: A fabulous and trifling deuise.] We find recorded by writers, that this Egwin had warning giuen him by visions (as he constantlie affirmed before pope Constantine) to set vp an image of our ladie in his church. Wherevpon the pope approuing the testifications of this bishop by his buls, writ to Brightwald archbishop of Canturburie, to assemble a synod, and by authoritie thereof to establish the vse of images, charging the kings of this land to be present at the same synod, vpon paine of [Sidenote: Bale. 712.] excommunication. This synod was holden about the yeere of our Lord 712, in the daies of Inas king of Westsaxons, and of Ceolred king of Mercia successor to the foresaid Kenred.
After Kenred succeeded Ceolred, the sonne of his vncle Edilred, & died [Sidenote: H. Hunt.] in the 8 yeere of his reigne, and was buried at Lichfield. Then succeeded Ethelbaldus that was descended of Eopa the brother of king Penda, as the fourth from him by lineall succession. This man gouerned a long time without anie notable trouble: some warres he had, and sped [Sidenote: Ran. Cestren.] diuerslie. In the 18 yeere of his reigne, he besieged Sommerton and wan it. He also inuaded Northumberland, and got there great riches by spoile and pillage, which he brought from thence without anie battell offered to him.
[Sidenote: Hen. Hunt.] He ouercame the Welshmen in battell, being then at quiet, and [Sidenote: Bereford. 755.] ioined as confederats with Cuthred K. of Westsaxons. But in the 37 yeere of his reigne, he was ouercome in battell at Bereford by the same Cuthred, with whome he was fallen at variance, and within foure yeeres after, that is to say, in the 41 yeere of his reigne he was [Sidenote: Three miles from Tamworth. Wil. Malm. 758.] slaine in battell at Secandon, or Sekenton, by his owne subiects, which arreared warres against him, by the procurement and leading of one Bernred, who after he had slaine his naturall prince, tooke vpon him the kingdome: but he prospered not long, being slaine by Offa that succeeded him in rule of the kingdome of Mercia, as after shall be shewed. The bodie of Ethelbald was buried at Ripton. [Sidenote: Matth. West.]
[Sidenote: The historie of Magd.] Bonifacius the archbishop of Mentiz or Moguntz, hauing assembled a councell with other bishops and doctors, deuised a letter, and sent it vnto this Ethelbald, commending him for his good deuotion and charitie in almes-giuing to the reliefe of the poore, and also for his vpright dealing in administration of iustice, to the punishment of robbers and such like misdooers: but in that he absteined from mariage, and wallowed in filthie lecherie with diuerse women, and namelie with nuns, they sore blamed him, and withall declared in what infamie the whole English nation in those daies remained by common report in other countries for their licentious liuing in sinfull fornication, and namelie the most part of the noble men of Mercia by his euill example did forsake their wiues, and defloured other women which they kept [Sidenote: Nuns kept for concubines.] in adulterie, as nuns and others. Moreouer, he shewed how that such euill women, as well nuns as other, vsed to make awaie in secret wise their children which they bare out of wedlocke, and so filled the graues with dead bodies, and hell with damned soules. The same Bonifacius in an other espistle wich he wrote vnto Cutbert the [Sidenote: Pilgrimage of nuns.] archbishop of Canturburie, counselled him not to permit the English nuns to wander abroad so often on pilgrimage, bicause there were few cities either in France or Lombardie, wherein might not be found English women, that liued wantonlie in fornication and whordome.
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Offa king of the Eastsaxons with other go to Rome, he is shauen and becommeth a moonke, succession in the kingdome of the Eastsaxons and Eastangles, Osred king of Northumberland hath carnall knowledge with nuns, he is slaine in battell, Osrike renouncing his kingdome becommeth a moonke, bishop Wilfrid twise restored to his see, Westsaxonie diuided in two diocesses, bishop Aldhelme a founder of religious houses; Ethelard succeedeth Inas in regiment, two blasing starres seene at once, and what insued, the king dieth: the successiue reigne of Wichtreds three sonnes ouer Kent, what prouinces were gouerned by bishops; of what puissance Ethelbald king of Mercia was, Egbert archbishop of Yorke aduanceth his see; a notable remembrance of that excellent man Beda, his death.
THE SECOND CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: Kings of the Eastsaxons. Beda lib. 5. cap. 20. Offa king of Eastsaxons.] In this meane time Sighard and Seufred, kings of the Eastsaxons, being departed this life, one Offa that was sonne to Sigerius succeeded in gouernment of that kingdome, a man of great towardnesse, and of right comelie countenance: but after he had ruled a certeine time, being mooued with a religious deuotion, he went to Rome in companie of Kenred king of Mercia, and of one Egwine bishop of Worcester, and being there shauen into the order of moonks, so [Sidenote: King Selred.] continued till he died. After him one Selred the sonne of Sigbert the good, ruled the Eastsaxons the tearme of 38 yeeres. After Aldulfe the [Sidenote: 688.] king of Eastangles departed this fraile life, which chanced about the yeere of our Lord 688, his brother Elcwold or Akwold succeeded him, and reigned about twelue yeeres. After whose decease one Beorne was made king of Eastangles, and reigned about 26 yeeres. In this [Sidenote: 705. Wil. Malm. Osred king of Northumberland.] meane while, that is to say, in the yeere of our Lord 705, Alfride king of Northumberland being dead, his sonne Osred, a child of 8 yeeres of age succeeded him in the kingdome, and reigned 11 yeeres, spending his time when he came to ripe yeeres in filthie abusing his bodie with nuns, and other religious women.
About the seuenth yeere of his reigne, that is to say, in the yeere of [Sidenote: Henr. Hunt. Picts ouerthrowne by the Northumbers.] our Lord 711, one of his capteins named earle Berthfride fought with the Picts, betwixt two places called Heue and Cere, and obteining the victorie, slue an huge number of the enimies. At length king Osred by the traitorous means of his coosens that arreared warre against [Sidenote: King Osred slaine in batell.] him, was slaine in battell, and so ended his reigne, leauing to those that procured his death the like fortune in time to come. For Kenred reigning two yeeres, and Osricke ten yeeres, were famous onelie in this, that being worthilie punished for shedding the bloud of their naturall prince and souereigne lord, they finished their liues with dishonourable deaths, as they had well deserued. Osricke before [Sidenote: 729.] his death, which chanced in the yeere of our Lord 729, appointed Ceolwolfe the brother of his predecessor Kenred, to succeed him in the kingdome, which he did, reigning as king of the Northumbers by the space of 8 yeeres currant, and then renouncing his kingdom, became a moonke in the Ile of Lindesferne.
[Sidenote: Beda. Acca bishop of Hexham.] In this meane while, bishop Wilfride being dead, one Acca that was his chapline was made bishop of Hexham. The said Wilfride had beene bishop by the space of 45 yeeres: but he liued a long time in exile. For first being archbishop of Yorke, and exercising his iurisdiction ouer all the north parts, he was after banished by king Egbert, and againe restored to the see of Hexham in the second yeere of king Alfride, and within fiue yeeres after eftsoones banished by the same Alfride, and the second time restored by his successor king Osred, in the fourth yeere of whose reigne, being the yeere after the incarnation of our Sauiour 709, he departed this life, and was buried at Rippon. Moreouer, after Iohn the archbishop of Yorke had resigned, one Wilfride surnamed the second was made archbishop of that see: which Wilfride was chapline to the said Iohn, and gouerned that see by [Sidenote: 710.] the space of fifteene yeeres, and then died. About the yeere of our Lord 710, the abbat Adrian which came into this land with Theodore the archbishop of Canturburie (as before ye haue heard) departed this life, about 39 yeeres after his comming thither.
[Sidenote: Two bishops sees Matth. West. Bishop Daniell.] Also Inas the king of Westsaxons, about the 20 yeere of his reigne, diuided the prouince of the Westsaxons into two bishops sees, whereas before they had but one. Daniell was ordeined to gouerne the one of those sees, being placed at Winchester, hauing vnder him [Sidenote: Bishop Aldhelme.] Sussex, Southerie and Hamshire. And Aldhelme was appointed to Shireburne, hauing vnder him, Barkeshire, Wiltshire, Sommersetshire, Dorsetshire, Deuonshire, and Cornwall. This Aldhelme was a learned [Sidenote: The abbeie of Malmesburie.] man, and was first made abbat of Malmesburie, in the yeere of our Lord 675 by Eleutherius then bishop of the Westsaxons, by whose diligence that abbeie was greatlie aduanced, being afore that time founded by one Medulfe a Scotish man, but of so small reuenues afore Aldhelms time, that the moonks were scarse able to liue thereon. Also the same Aldhelme was a great furtherer vnto king Inas in the building of Glastenburie.
[Sidenote: ETHELARD. 728. Matth. West. saith 727.] Ethelard, the coosen of king Inas, to whome the same Inas resigned his kingdome, began to gouerne the Westsaxons in the yeere of our Lord 728, or rather 27, which was in the 11 yeere of the emperor Leo Isaurus, in the second yeere of Theodorus king of France, and about the 8 or 9 yeere of Mordacke king of the Scots. In the first yeere of Ethelards reigne, he was disquieted with ciuill warre, which one Oswald a noble man, descended of the roiall bloud of the Westsaxon kings, procured against him: but in the end, when he perceiued that the kings power was too strong for him, he fled out of the countrie, leauing it thereby in rest.
[Sidenote: Matth. West. 729. Blasing stars.] In the yeere 729, in the moneth of Ianuarie there appeered two comets or blasing starres, verie terrible to behold, the one rising in the morning before the rising of the sunne, and the other after the setting thereof: so that the one came before the breake of the day, and the other before the closing of the night, stretching foorth their fierie brands toward the north; and they appeered thus euerie morning and euening for the space of a fortnight togither, menacing as it were some great destruction or common mishap to follow. The Saracens shortlie after entred France, and were ouerthrowne. Finallie, when king Ethelard had reigned the terme of foureteene yeeres currant, he departed this life.
[Sidenote: Wil. Malm. ] Now when Wichtred king of Kent had gouerned the Kentishmen by the space of 33 yeeres, with great commendation for the good orders which he caused to be obserued amongst them, as well concerning matters ecclesiasticall as temporal, he departed this life, leauing behind him three sonnes, who successiuelie reigned as heires to him one after another (that is to say) Edbert 23 yeeres, Ethelbert 11 yeeres currant, and Alrike 34 yeeres, the which three princes following the steps of their father in the obseruance of politike orders & commendable lawes, vsed for the more part their fathers good lucke and [Sidenote: Beda. lib. 5. cap. 24.] fortune, except that in Ethelberts time the citie of Canturburie was burned by casuall fire, and Alrike lost a battell against them of Mercia, whereby the glorie of their times was somewhat blemished: for so it came to passe, that whatsoeuer chanced euill, was kept still in memorie, and the good haps that came forward, were soone forgotten and [Sidenote: 731.] put out of remembrance. In the yeere of our Lord 731, Betrwald archbishop of Canturburie departed this life in the fift ides of Ianuarie, after he had gouerned that see by the space of 27 yeeres, 6 moneths, and 14 daies: in whose place the same yeere one Tacwine was ordeined archbishop, that before was a priest in the monasterie of Bruidon within the prouince of Mercia. He was consecrated in the citie of Canturburie, by the reuerend fathers Daniell bishop of Winchester, Ingwald bishop of London, Aldwin bishop of Lichfield, and Aldwulfe bishop of Rochester, the tenth day of Iune being sundaie. [Sidenote: Bishops what parishes they governed.] As touching the state of the English church for ecclesiasticall gouernours, certeine it is, that the same was as hereafter followeth. The prouince of Canturburie was gouerned touching the ecclesiasticall state by archbishop Tacwine, and bishop Aldwulfe. The prouince of the Eastsaxons by bishop Ingwald. The prouince of Eastangles by bishop Eadbertus and Hadulacus, the one keeping his see at Elsham, and the other at Dunwich. The prouince of the Westsaxons was gouerned by the foresaid Daniell and by Forthere, who succeeded next after Aldhelme in the see of Shereburne. This Forthere in the yeere of our Lord 738, [Sidenote: Matth, West.] left his bishoprike, and went to Rome in companie of the queene of the Westsaxons. Many as well kings as bishops, noble and vnnoble, priests and laiemen, togither with women, vsed to make such iournies thither in those daies. The prouince of Mercia was ruled by the foresaid Aldwine bishop of Lichfield, and one bishop Walstod holding his see at Herford gouerned those people that inhabited beyond the riuer of Sauerne toward the west. The prouince of Wiccies, that is, Worcester, one Wilfride gouerned. The Southsaxons and the Ile of Wight were vnder the bishop of Winchester. In the prouince of the Northumbers were foure bishops, that is to say, Wilfride archbishop of Yorke, Edilwald bishop of Lindisferne, Acca bishop of Hexham, and Pecthelmus bishop of Whiterne, otherwise called Candida Casa, he was the first that gouerned that church after the same was made a bishops see. And thus stood the state of the English church for ecclesiasticall gouernors in that season.
[Sidenote: Ethelbald K. of Mercia, of what puissance he was.] And as for temporall gouernement, king Ceolvulfe had the souereigne dominion ouer all the Northumbers: but all the prouinces on the southside of Humber, with their kings and rulers, were subiect vnto Edilbald or Ethelbald king of Mercia. The nation of the Picts were in league with the English men, and gladlie became partakers of the catholike faith and veritie of the vniuersall church. Those Scots which inhabited Britaine, contenting themselues with their owne bounds, went not about to practise anie deceitfull traines nor fraudulent deuises against the Englishmen. The Britains otherwise called Welshmen, though for the more part of a peculiar hatred they did impugne the English nation, & the obseruance of the feast of Ester appointed by the whole catholike church, yet (both diuine and humane force vtterlie resisting them) they were not able in neither behalfe to atteine to their wished intentions, as they which though they were partlie free, yet in some point remained still as thrall and mancipate to the subiection of the Englishmen: who (saith Beda) now in the acceptable time of peace and quietnesse, manie amongst them of Northumberland, laieng armour and weapon aside, applied themselues to the reading of holie scriptures, more desirous to be professed in religious houses, than to exercise feates of warre: but what will come therof (saith he) the age that followeth shall see and behold. With these words dooth Beda end his historie, continued till the yeere of our Lord 731, which was from the comming of the Englishmen into this land, about 285 yeeres, according to his account.
[Sidenote: 732. Wil. Malm.] In the yeere following, that is to say 732, in place of Wilfrid the second, Egbert was ordeined bishop of Yorke. This Egbert was brother vnto an other Egbert, who as then was king of Northumberland, by whose helpe he greatlie aduanced the see of Yorke, and recouered the pall: so that where all the other bishops that held the same see before him sith Paulins daies, wanted the pall, and so were counted simplie but particular bishops: now was he intituled by the name of archbishop. He also got togither a great number of good books, [Sidenote: 733.] which he bestowed in a librarie at Yorke. In the yeere 733, on the 18 kalends of September, the sunne suffered a great eclipse about three of the clocke in the after noone, in somuch that the earth seemed to be couered with a blacke and horrible penthouse.
[Sidenote: 735 Beda departed this life] In the yeere 735, that reuerend and profound learned man Beda departed this life, being 82 yeeres of age, vpon Ascension day, which was the 7 kalends of Iune, and 26 of Maie, as Matt. Westm. hath diligentlie obserued. W. Harison addeth hitherto, that it is to be read in an old epistle of Cutbert moonke of the same house vnto Cuthwine, that the said Beda lieng in his death-bed, translated the gospell of saint Iohn into English, and commanded his brethren to be diligent in reading and contemplation of good bookes, and not to exercise themselues with fables and friuolous matters. Finallie he was buried in the abbeie of Geruie, distant fiue miles from Wiremouth, an abbeie also in the north parts, not far from Newcastell (as is before remembred.) He was brought vp in those two abbeies, and was scholar to John of Beuerley. How throughlie he was seene in all kinds of good literature, the bookes which hee wrote doo manifestlie beare witnesse. His judgement also was so much esteemed ouer all, that Sergius the bishop of Rome wrote vnto Celfride the abbat of Wiremouth, requiring him to send Beda vnto the court of Rome for the deciding of certein questions mooued there, which without his opinion might seeme to rest doubtful. But whether he went thither or not we can not affirme: but as it is thought by men worthie of credit, he neuer went out of this land, but continued for the most part of his life in the abbeies of Geruie and Wiremouth, first vnder Benet the first abbat and founder of the same abbeies, and after vnder the said Celfride, in whose time he receiued orders of priesthood at the hands of bishop Iohn, surnamed of Beuerley: so that it may be maruelled that a man, borne in the vttermost corner of the world, should proue so excellent in all knowledge and learning, that his fame should so spread ouer the whole [Sidenote: Crantzius.] earth, and went neuer out of his natiue countrie to seeke it. But who that marketh in reading old histories the state of abbeies and monasteries in those daies, shall well perceiue that they were ordered after the maner of our schooles or colleges, hauing in them diuerse learned men, that attended onelie to teach & bring vp youth in knowledge of good learning, or else to go abroad and preach the word of God in townes and villages adjoining.
[Sidenote: 735.] The same yeere died archbishop Tacuine, and in the yeere following, that is to say 735, Nothelmus was ordeined archbishop of Canturburie in his place, and Egbert the archbishop of Yorke the same yeere got his pall from Rome, and so was confirmed archbishop, and ordeined two bishops, Fruidberd, and Fruidwald. But some refer it to the yeere 744.
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Cuthred king of the Westsaxons, he is greatlie troubled by Ethelbald king of Mercia, they are pacified; Kenric king Cuthreds sonne slaine, earle Adelme rebelleth against him whom the king pardoneth; Cuthred fighteth with Ethelbald at Hereford, he hath the victorie, he falleth sicke and dieth; Sigebert succedeth him in the kingdome, he is cruell to his people, he is expelled from his roiall estate, murther reuenged with murther, succession in the kingdome of Eastangles, kings change their crownes for moonks cowles; the Britaines subiect to the king of Northumberland and the king of Picts, the moone eclipsed.
THE THIRD CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: CUTHRED.] After the decease of Ethelard king of Westsaxons, his coosine Cuthred was made king and gouernour of those people, reigning the tearme of 16 yeeres. He began his reigne in the yeere of our Lord [Sidenote: 740.] 740, in the twentie fourth yere of the emperour Leo Isaurus, in the 14 yeere of the reigne of the second Theodorus Cala K. of France, and about the 6 yeere of Ethfine king of Scots. This Cuthred had much to [Sidenote: Matt. West. Hen. Hunt.] doo against Edilbald king of Mercia, who one while with stirring his owne subiects the Westsaxons to rebellion, an other while with open warre, and sometime by secret craft and subtill practises sought to disquiet him. Howbeit, in the fourth yeere of his reigne, a peace was concluded betwixt them, and then ioining their powers togither, they went against the Welshmen, & gaue them a great ouerthrow, as [Sidenote: Kenric the kings sonne slaine.] before is partlie touched. In the 9 yeere of this Cuthreds reigne, his sonne Kenric was slaine in a seditious tumult amongst his men of warre, a gentleman yoong in yeeres, but of a stout courage, and [Sidenote: 749.] verie forward, wherby (as was thought) he came the sooner to his wofull end.
[Sidenote: Matth. West.] [Sidenote: 751.] In the 11 yeere of his reigne, Cuthred had wars against one of his earls called Adelme, who raising a commotion against him, aduentured to giue battell though he had the smaller number of men, and yet was at point to haue gone away with victorie, if by a wound at that instant receiued, his periurie had not beene punished, and the kings [Sidenote: 752 Matt. West.] iust cause aduanced to triumph ouer his aduersarie, whom yet by way of reconciliation he pardoned. In the 13 yeere of his reigne, king Cuthred being not well able to susteine the proud exactions and hard dooings of Edilbald king of Mercia, raised his power, and encountered with the same Edilbald at Hereford, hauing before him the said earle Adelme, in whose valiant prowesse he put great hope to atteine victorie: neither was he deceiued, for by the stout conduct and noble courage of the said Adelme, the loftie pride of king [Sidenote: K. Edilbald put to flight.] Edelbald was abated, so that he was there put to flight, and all his armie discomfited, after sore and terrible fight continued and mainteined euen to the vttermost point. In the 24 yeere of his reigne, this Cuthred fought eftsoones with the Welshmen, and obteined the vpper hand, without anie great losse of his people: for the enimies were easilie put to flight and chased, to their owne destruction. In the yeere after, king Cuthred fell sicke, and in the 16 yeere of his reigne he departed this life, after so manie great victories got against his enimies.
[Sidenote: SIGIBERT. 755.] After him succeeded one Sigibert, a cruell and vnmercifull prince at home, but yet a coward abroad. This Sigbert or Sigibert began his reigne in the yeare of our Lord 755, verie neere ended. He intreated his subjects verie euill, setting law and reason at naught. He could not abide to heare his faults told him, and therefore he cruellie put to death an earle named Cumbra, which was of his councell, and faithfullie admonished him to reforme his euill dooings: wherevpon the rest of his nobles assembled themselues togither with a great multitude of people, and expelled him out of his estate in the beginning of the second, or (as some say) the first yeare of his reigne. Then Sigibert, as he was fearefull of nature; fearing to be apprehended, got him into the wood called as then Andredeswald, and there hid himselfe, but by chance a swineheard that belonged to the late earle Cumbra at Priuets-floud found him out, and perceiuing what he was, slue him in reuenge of his maisters death.
Lo here you may see how the righteous iustice of God rewardeth wicked dooings in this world with worthie recompense, as well as in the world to come, appointing euill princes sometimes to reigne for the punishment of the people, according as they deserue, permitting some of them to haue gouernement a long time, that both the froward nations may suffer long for their sins, and that such wicked princes may in an other world tast the more bitter torments. Againe, other he taketh out of the waie, that the people may be deliuered from oppression, and also that the naughtie ruler for his misdemeanour may speedilie receiue due punishment.
[Sidenote: Ethelred. 738.] After Beorne king of Eastangles one Ethelred succeeded in gouernment of that kingdome a man noted to be of good and vertuous qualities, in that he brought vp his sonne Ethelred (which succeeded him) so in the feare of the Lord, that he prooued a right godlie prince. This Ethelbert reigned (as writers say) the terme of 52 yeares.
[Sidenote: Egbert king of Northumberland. 758.] After that Ceolvulfe king of Northumberland was become a moonke in the abbie of Lindesferne, his vncles sonne Egbert (by order taken by the said Ceolvulfe) succeeded him in the kingdome, and gouerned the same right woorthilie for the terme of 24 yeares, and then became a moonke, by the example both of his predecessor the forsaid Ceolvulfe, [Sidenote: Changing of crownes for moonkes cowles. 756.] and also of diuers other kings in those daies, so that he was the eight king who in this land had changed a kings crowne for a moonks cowle (as Simon Dunel. writeth.)
This Egbert (in the 18 yeare of his reigne) and Vngust king of Picts came to the citie of Alcluid with their armies, and there receiued the Britains into their subiection, the first-day of August: but the tenth day of the same month, the armie which he led from Ouan vnto Newbourgh, was for the more part lost and destroied. The same yeare on the 8 kalends of December, the moone being as then in hir full, appeared to be of a bloudie colour, but at length she came to hir accustomed shew, after a maruellous meanes, for a starre which followed hir, passed by hir, & went before hir, the like distāce as it kept in following hir before she lost hir vsuall light.
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Offa king of Mercia, his manhood and victories against the Kentishmen and Westsaxons, he killeth Egilbert king of Eastangles by a policie or subtill deuise of profered curtesie, he inuadeth his kingdome, and possesseth it, the archbishops see of Canturburie remoued to Lichfield; archbishop Lambert laboring to defend his prerogatiue is depriued by king Offa, he seizeth vpon churches and religious houses; mistrusting his estate, he alieth himselfe with other princes; he maketh amends for the wrongs that he had doone to churches and religious houses, he goeth to Rome, maketh his realme tributarie to the said see, Peter pence paid, he falleth sicke and dieth, places to this day bearing his name in memorie of him, the short reigne of his sonne.
THE FOURTH CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: OFFA. 758.] After that Offa had slaine Bernred the vsurper of the kingdome of Mercia (as before is mentioned) the same Offa tooke vppon him the [Sidenote: Matth. West. Wil. Malm.] gouernment of that kingdome 758, a man of such stoutnesse of stomach, that he thought he should be able to bring to passe all things whatsoeuer he conceiued in his mind. He reigned 39 yeares. His dooings were great and maruellous, and such as some times his vertues surpassed his vices, and sometime againe his vices seemed to [Sidenote: The victories of king Offa. Matth. West. 779.] ouermatch his vertues. He ouercame the Kentishmen in a great battell at Otteford, and the Northumbers also were by him vanquished, and in battell put to flight. With Kenvulfe king of Westsaxons he fought in open battell, and obteined a noble victorie, with small losse of his people, although the same Kenwulfe was a right valiant prince, and a good capteine.
[Sidenote: Falsehood in fellowship.] Againe, perceiuing that to proceed with craft, should sooner aduance his purpose, than to vse open force against Egilbert king of Eastangles, vnder faire promises to giue vnto him his daughter in mariage, he allured him to come into Mercia, and receiuing him into his palace, caused his head to be striken off, and after by wrongfull meanes inuaded his kingdome, and got it into his possession: yet he caused the bones of the first martyr of this land saint Albane (by a miraculous meanes brought to light) to be taken vp, and put in a rich shrine adorned with gold and stone, building a goodlie church of excellent woorkmanship, and founding a monasterie in that place in honor of the same saint, which he indowed with great possessions. [Sidenote: The archbishops see remoued from Canturburie to Lichfield. 785.] He remoued the archbishops see from Canturburie vnto Lichfield, thereby to aduance his kingdome of Mercia, as well in dignitie & preheminence of spirituall power as temporall. He made great suit to bring his purpose to passe in the court of Rome, and at length by [Sidenote: Matt. West.] great gifts and rewards obteined it at the hands of pope Adrian the first, then gouerning the Romane see. And so Eadulfus then bishop of Lichfield was adorned with the pall, and taken for archbishop, hauing all those bishops within the limits of king Offa his dominion suffragans vnto him; namelie, Denebertus bishop of Worcester, Werebertus bishop of Chester, Eadulfus bishop of Dorcester, Wilnardus bishop of Hereford, Halard bishop of Elsham, and Cedferth bishop of Donwich. There remained onelie to the archbishop of Canturburie, the bishops of London, Winchester, Rochester, and Shireburne.
[Sidenote: The archbishop Lambert defended his cause.] This separation continued all the life time of the archbishop Lambert, although he trauelled earnestlie to mainteine his prerogatiue. Now, for that he still defended his cause, and would not reuolt from his will, Offa depriued him of all his possessions & reuenues that he held or inioied within anie part of his dominions. Neither was Offa satisfied herewith, but he also tooke into his hands the possessions of manie other churches, and fleeced the house of [Sidenote: Offa alieth himselfe with other princes.] Malmesburie of a part of hir reuenues. Because of these & other his hard dooings, doubting the malice of his enimies, he procured the friendship of forren princes. Vnto Brightricke king of the [Sidenote: Matt. Westm.] Westsaxons he gaue his daughter Ethelburga in mariage. And sending diuers ambassadours ouer vnto Charles the great, that was both emperor & king of France, he purchased his friendship at length, although [Sidenote: The intercourse of merchants staied.] before there had depended a peece of displeasure betwixt them, insomuch that the intercourse for trade of merchandize was staied for a time. One of the ambassadours that was sent vnto the said Charles [Sidenote: Alcwine an Englishman.] (as is reported) was that famous clearke Albine or Alcwine, by whose persuasion the same Charles erected two vniuersities, as in place due and conuenient may more largelie appeare.
Finallie king Offa (as it were for a meane to appease Gods wrath, which he doubted to be iustlie conceiued towards him for his sinnes [Sidenote: Polydor.] and wickednesse) granted the tenth part of all his goods vnto churchmen, and to poore people. He also indowed the church of Hereford with great reuenues, and (as some write) he builded the abbeie of Bath, placing moonkes in the same, of the order of saint Benet, as [Sidenote: 775.] before he had doone at saint Albons. Moreouer he went vnto Rome, about the yeare of our Lord 775, and there following the example of Inas king of the Westsaxons, made his realme subiect by way of tribute [Sidenote: Peter pence, or Rome Scot. Will. Malmes. 797.] vnto the church of Rome, appointing that euerie house within the limits of his dominions, should yearelie pay vnto the apostolike see one pennie, which paiment was after named, Rome Scot, and Peter pence. After his returne from Rome, perceiuing himselfe to draw into yeares, [Sidenote: Offa departed this life.] he caused his sonne Egfrid to be ordeined king in his life time: and shortlie after departing out of this world, left the kingdome vnto him, after he had gouerned it by the space of 39 yeares.
Amongst other the dooings of this Offa, which suerlie were great and maruellous, this may not passe with silence, that he caused a mightie great ditch to be cast betwixt the marshes of his countrie, and the Welsh confines, to diuide thereby the bounds of their dominions. [Sidenote: Offditch.] This ditch was called Offditch euer after, and stretched from the south side by Bristow, vnder the mountaines of Wales, running northward ouer the riuers of Seuerne and Dee, vnto the verie mouth of Dee, where that riuer falleth into the sea. He likewise builded a church in Warwikeshire, whereof the towne there taketh name, and is [Sidenote: Egfrid king of Mercia.] called Offchurch euen to this day. Egfrid taking vpon him the rule, began to follow the approoued good dooings of his father, and first restored vnto the churches their ancient priuileges, which his father sometimes had taken from them. Great hope was conceiued of his further good proceeding, but death cut off the same, taking him out of this life, after he had reigned the space of foure moneths, not for his owne offenses (as was thought) but rather for that his father had caused so much bloud to be spilt for the confirming of him in the kingdome, which so small a time he now inioied.
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Osulph king of Northumberland traitorouslie murthered, Edilwald succeedeth him, the reward of rebellion, a great mortalitie of foules fishes and fruits, moonkes licenced to drinke wine, great wast by fire, Edelred king of Northumberland is driuen out of his countrie by two dukes of the same, Ethelbert king of the Eastangles commended for his vertues, Alfred the daughter of king Mercia is affianced to him, tokens of missehaps towards him, his destruction intended by queene Quendred, hir platforme of the practise to kill him, Offa inuadeth Ethelberts kingdome, Alfred his betrothed wife taketh his death greuouslie, and becommeth a nun, the decaie of the kingdome of Eastangles, succession in the regiment of the Westsaxons, the end of the gouernement of the Eastsaxons, prince Algar is smitten blind for seeking to rauish virgine Friswide, and at hir praiers restored to his sight.
THE FIFT CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: EADBERT king of Northumberland. 758.] When Eadbert or Egbert K. of Northumberland was become a moonke, his sonne Osulphus succeeded him: but after he had reigned onelie one yeare, he was traitorouslie murthered by his owne seruants at Mikilwongton, on the 9 kalends of August. Then succeeded one Moll, [Sidenote: Simon Dun. Hen. Hunt. Edilwold king of Northumberland. Simon Dun. Henr. Hunt.] otherwise called Edilwold or Edilwald, but not immediatlie, for he began not his reigne till the nones of August in the yeare following, which was after the birth of our sauiour 759.
This man prooued right valiant in gouernement of his subiects. He slue in battell an earle of his countrie named Oswin, who arrearing warre against him, fought with him in a pitcht field at Eadwines Cliue, and receiued the worthie reward of rebellion.
[Sidenote: Simon Dun. 764.] This chanced in the third yeare of his reigne, and shortlie after, that is to say, in the yeare of our Lord 764, there fell such a maruellous great snow, and therwith so extreame a frost, as the like had not beene heard of, continuing from the beginning of the winter, almost till the middest of the spring, with the rigour whereof, trees and fruits withered awaie, and lost their liuelie shape and growth: and not onelie feathered foules, but also beasts on the land, & fishes in the sea died in great numbers. The same yeare died Ceolwulf then king of Northumberland, vnto whome Beda did dedicate his booke of [Sidenote: Moonks licenced to drinke wine.] histories of the English nation. After that he was become a moonke in the monasterie of Lindesferne, the moonks of that house had licence to drinke wine, or ale, whereas before they might not drinke anie other thing than milke, or water, by the ancient rule prescribed them of the bishop Aidan first founder of the place. The same yeare sundrie cities, townes, and monasteries were defaced and sore wasted with fier chancing on the sudden, as Stretehu, Giwento, Anwicke, London, Yorke, Doncaster, &c.
After that Moll had reigned 6 yeares, he resigned his kingdome. But [Sidenote: Wil. Malm. Altred began his reigne in the yeare 765 as Sim. Dun. saith.] other write that he reigned 11 yeares, and was in the end slaine by treason of his successor Altred. This Altred reigned ten years ouer the Northumbers, and was then expelled out of his kingdome by his [Sidenote: Henr. Hunt. Matth. West. Ethelbert.] owne subiects. Then was Ethelbert, named also Edelred, the sonne of the foresaid Moll, made king of Northumberland, and in the fift yeare of his reigne, he was driuen out of his kingdome by two dukes of his countrie named Edelbald and Herebert, who mouing warre against him, had slaine first Aldulfe the sonne of Bosa the generall of his armie at Kingescliffe; and after Kinewulfe and Egga, other two of his dukes, at Helatherne in a sore foughten field: so that Ethelbert despairing of all recouerie, was constrained to get him out of the countrie. And thus was the kingdome of Northumberland brought into a miserable state, by the ambitious working of the princes and nobles of the same.
[Sidenote: Henr. Hunt. Iohn Capgraue. Matth. West. and others. Ethelbert king of Eastangles.] After that Ethelbert king of Eastangles was dead, his sonne Ethelbert succeeded him, a prince of great towardnesse, and so vertuouslie brought vp by his fathers circumspect care and diligence, that he vtterlie abhorred vice, and delighted onelie in vertue and commendable exercises, for the better atteining to knowledge and vnderstanding of good sciences. There remaine manie sundrie saiengs & dooings of him, manifestlie bearing witnesse that there could not [Sidenote: The saieng of king Ethelbert.] be a man more honorable, thankefull, courteous or gentle. Amongest other he had this saieng oftentimes in his mouth, that the greater that men were, the more humble they ought to beare themselues: for the Lord putteth proud and mightie men from their seates, and exalteth the humble and meeke.
Moreouer he did not onelie shew himselfe wise in words, but desired also to excell in staiednesse of maners, and continencie of life. Whereby he wan to him the hearts of his people, who perceiuing that he was nothing delighted in the companie of women, and therefore minded not mariage, they of a singular loue and fauour towards him, required that he should in anie wise yet take a wife, that he might haue issue to succeed him. At length the matter being referred to his councell, he was persuaded to follow their aduises. And so Alfreda the daughter of Offa king of Mercia was affianced to him: so that he himselfe appointed (as meanes to procure more fauour at his father in lawes hands) to go fetch the bride from hir fathers house.
Manie strange things that happened to him in taking vpon him this [Sidenote: Tokens of mishap to follow.] iournie, put him in great doubt of that which should follow. He was no sooner mounted on his horsse, but that (as seemed to him) the earth shooke vnder him: againe, as he was in his iournie, about the mid-time of the day, such a darke mist compassed him on ech side, that he could not see nor discerne for a certeine time anie thing about him at all: lastlie, as he laie one night asleepe, he thought he saw in a dreame the roofe of his owne palace fall downe to the ground. But though with these things he was brought into great feare, yet he kept on his [Sidenote: The innocent mistrustfull of no euill.] iournie, as he that mistrusted no deceit, measuring other mens maners by his owne. King Offa right honourablie receiued him: but his wife named Quendred, a wise woman, but therewith wicked, conceiued a malicious deuise in hir hart, & streightwaies went about to persuade hir husband to put it in execution, which was to murther king Ethelbert, and after to take into his hands his kingdome.
Offa at the first was offended with his wife for this motion, but [Sidenote: Iohn Capgr. Winnebert.] in the end, through the importunate request of the woman, he consented to hir mind. The order of the murther was committed vnto one Winnebert, that had serued both the said Ethelbert & his father [Sidenote: Sim. Dun. saith 771.] before time, the which feining as though he had beene sent from Offa [Sidenote: Offa conquereth Eastangles.] to will Ethelbert to come vnto him in the night season, slue him that once mistrusted not anie such treason. Offa hauing thus dispatched Ethelbert, inuaded his kingdome, and conquered it.
But when the bride Alfreda vnderstood the death of hir liked make and bridegrome, abhorring the fact, she curssed father and mother, and as it were inspired with the spirit of prophesie, pronounced that woorthie punishment would shortlie fall on hir wicked mother for hir heinous crime committed in persuading so detestable a deed: and [Sidenote: Alfreda a nun. Beda. Matth. West.] according to hir woords it came to passe, for hir mother died miserablie within three moneths after. The maid Alfreda refusing the world, professed hirselfe a nun at Crowland, the which place began to wax famous about the yeere of our Lord 695, by the meanes of one Gutlake, a man esteemed of great vertue and holinesse, which chose to himselfe an habitation there, and departing this life about the yeere of our Lord 714, was buried in that place, where afterwards an abbeie of moonks was builded of saint Benets order. The bodie of K. Ethelbert at length was buried at Hereford, though first it was committed to buriall in a vile place, neere to the banke of a riuer called Lug.
The kingdome of Eastangles from thencefoorth was brought so into decaie, that it remained subiect one while vnto them of Mercia, an other while vnto the Westsaxons, and somewhile vnto them of Kent, till that Edmund surnamed the martyr got the gouernment thereof (as after shall appeere.) After that Selred king of the Eastsaxons had gouerned [Sidenote: H. Hunt.] the tearme of 38 yeeres, he was slaine, but in what maner, writers haue not expressed. After him succeeded one Swithed or Swithred, the 11 and last in number that particularlie gouerned those people. He was finallie expelled by Egbert K. of Westsaxons, the same yeere that the said Egbert ouercame the Kentishmen (as after shall be shewed) and so the kings of that kingdome of the Eastsaxons ceassed and tooke end.
[Sidenote: Friswide a virgine.] About this time, there was a maid in Oxford named Friswide, daughter to a certeine duke or noble man called Didanus, with whome one Algar a prince in those parties fell in loue, and would haue rauished hir, but God the reuenger of sinnes was at hand (as the storie saith.) For when Algar followed the maid that fled before him, she getting into the towne, the gate was shut against him, and his sight also was suddenlie taken from him. But the maid by hir praiers pacified Gods wrath towards him, so that his sight was againe restored to him. But whether this be a fable or a true tale, heereof grew the report, that the kings of this realme long times after were afraid to enter into the citie of Oxford. So easilie is the mind of man turned to superstition (as saith Polydor.)
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Kinewulfe king of Westsaxons, his conquest ouer the Britains, his securitie and negligence, he is slaine by conspirators, inquisition for Kineard the principall procurer of that mischiefe, he is slaine in fight; legats from the pope to the kings and archbishops of this land about reformation in the church, a councell holden at Mercia; iudge Bearne burnt to death for crueltie, Alfwold reigneth ouer Northumberland, his owne subiects murther him; a booke of articles sent by Charles king of France into Britaine quite contrarie to the christian faith, Albinus writeth against it; great waste by tempests of wind and rage of fire.
THE SIXT CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: KINEWULF. Hen. Hunt. 756.] After that the Westsaxons had depriued their vnprofitable king Sigibert, they aduanced Kinewulfe, or Cinevulfus, the which began his reigne about the yeere of our Lord 756, which was in the 16 yeere of the emperor Constantinus, surnamed Copronimos, in the 6 yeere of [Sidenote: Simon Dun. saith 755.] the reigne of Pipin king of France, and about the 22 yeere of Ethfine king of Scots. This Kinewulfe prooued a right woorthie and valiant prince, and was descended of the right line of Cerdicus. He obteined [Sidenote: The Britains vanquished.] great victories against the Britains or Welshmen, but at Bensington or Benton he lost a battell against Offa king of Mercia, in the 24 yeere of his reigne: and from that time forward tasting manie displeasures, at length through his owne follie came vnto a shamefull end. For whereas he had reigned a long time neither slouthfullie nor presumptuouslie, yet now as it were aduanced with the glorie of things passed, he either thought that nothing could go against him, or else doubted the suertie of their state whom he should leaue behind him, and therefore he confined one Kineard the brother of Sigibert, whose fame he perceiued to increase more than he would haue wished.
This Kineard dissembling the matter, as he that could giue place to time, got him out of the countrie, and after by a secret conspiracie assembled togither a knot of vngratious companie, and returning priuilie into the countrie againe, watched his time, till he espied that the king with a small number of his seruants was come vnto the house of a noble woman, whome he kept a paramour at Merton, wherevpon the said Kineard vpon the sudden beset the house round about. The king perceiuing himselfe thus besieged of his enimies, at the first caused the doores to be shut, supposing either by curteous woords to appease his enimies, or with his princelie authoritie to put them in feare.
But when he saw that by neither meane he could doo good, in a great chafe he brake foorth of the house vpon Kineard, and went verie neere to haue killed him: but being compassed about with multitude of enimies, whilest he stood at defense, thinking it a dishonour for [Sidenote: Kinewulfe slaine by conspirators.] him to flee, he was beaten downe and slaine, togither with those few of his seruants which he had there with him, who chose rather to die in seeking reuenge of their maisters death than by cowardise to yeeld themselues into the murtherers hands. There escaped none except one Welshman or Britaine, an hostage, who was neuerthelesse sore wounded and hurt.
The brute of such an heinous act was streightwaies blowne ouer all, and brought with speed to the eares of the noble men and peeres of the realme, which were not farre off the place where this slaughter had beene committed. Amongst other, one Osrike, for his age and wisedome accounted of most authoritie, exhorted the residue that in no wise they should suffer the death of their souereigne lord to passe vnpunished vnto their perpetuall shame and reproofe. Wherevpon in all hast they ran to the place where they knew to find Kineard, who at the first began to please his cause, to make large promises, to pretend coosenage, and so foorth: but when he perceiued all that he could say or doo might not preuaile, he incouraged his companie to shew themselues valiant, and to resist their enimies to the vttermost of their powers. Heerevpon followed a doubtfull fight, the one part striuing to saue their liues, and the other to atteine honour, and punish the slaughter of their souereigne lord. At length the victorie rested on the side where the right was, so that the wicked murtherer after he had fought a while, at length was slaine, togither with [Sidenote: Simon Dun. H. Hunt] fourescore and eight of his mates. The kings bodie was buried at Winchester, & the murtherers at Repingdon. Such was the end of king Kinewulfe, after he had reigned the tearme of 31 yeeres.
[Sidenote: Eccle. hist. Magd. 786] In the yeere of our Lord 786, pope Adrian sent two legats into England, Gregorie, or (as some copies haue) George bishop of Ostia, and Theophylactus bishop of Tuderto, with letters commendatorie vnto Offa king of Mercia, Alfwold king of Northumberland, Ieanbright or Lambert archbishop of Canturburie, and Eaubald archbishop of Yorke. [Sidenote: H. Hunt. Legats from the pope.] These legats were gladlie receiued, not onlie by the foresaid kings and archbishops, but also of all other the high estates, aswell spirituall as temporall of the land, & namelie of Kinewulfe king of the Westsaxons, which repaired vnto king Offa to take counsell with him for reformation of such articles as were conteined in the popes letters.
[Sidenote: Twentie articles which the legats had to propone.] There were twentie seuerall articles which they had to propone on the popes behalfe, as touching the receiuing of the faith or articles established by the Nicene councell, and obeieng of the other generall councels, with instructions concerning baptisme and keeping of synods yeerelie, for the examination of priests and ministers, and reforming of naughtie liuers. Moreouer touching discretion to be vsed in admitting of gouernors in monasteries, and curats or priests to the ministerie in churches: and further for the behauior of priests in wearing their apparell, namelie that they should not presume to come to the altar bare legged, lest their dishonestie might be discouered. And that in no wise the chalice or paten were made of the horne of an oxe, bicause the same is bloudie of nature: nor the host of a crust, but of pure bread. Also whereas bishops vsed to sit in councels to iudge in secular causes, they were now forbidden so to doo.
Manie other things were as meanes of reformation articled, both for spirituall causes, and also concerning ciuill ordinances, as disabling children to be heirs to the parents, which by them were not begot [Sidenote: Nuns concubines.] in lawfull matrimonie but on concubines, whether they were nunnes or secular women. Also of paiment of tithes, performing of vowes, auoiding of vndecent apparell, and abolishing of all maner of heathenish vsages and customes that sounded contrarie to the order [Sidenote: Curtailing of horsses.] of christanitie, as curtailing of horsses, and eating of horsses flesh. These things with manie other expressed in 20 principall articles (as we haue said) were first concluded to be receiued by the church of the Northumbers in a councell holden there, and subscribed by Alfwold king of the Northumbers, by Delberike bishop of Hexham, by Eubald archbishop of Yorke, Higwald bishop of Lindisferne, Edelbert bishop of Whiterne, Aldulfe bishop of Mieth, Ethelwine also another bishop by his deputies, with a number of other of the clergie; and lords also of the temporaltie, as duke Alrike, duke Segwulfe, abbat Alebericke, and abbat Erhard. After this confirmation had of the Northumbers, there was also a councell holden in Mercia at Cealtide, in the which these persons subscribed, Iambert or Lambert archbishop of Canturburie, Offa king of Mercia, Hughbright bishop of Lichfield, Edeulfe bishop of Faron, with Vnwone bishop of Ligor, and nine other bishops, besides abbats; and three dukes, as Brorda, Farwald, and Bercoald, with earle Othbald.
But now to returne backe to speake of other dooings, as in other parts of this land they fell out. About the yeere of our Lord 764, the see of Canturburie being void, one Iambert or Lambert was elected [Sidenote: 764.] archbishop there, and in the yeere 766, the archbishop of Yorke Egbert [Sidenote: Sim. Dun. saith 780] departed this life, in whose place one Adelbert succeeded. About the 25 yeere of Kenwulf king of Westsaxons, the Northumbers hauing to their capteine two noble men, Osbald and Ethelherard, burned one [Sidenote: Simon Dun.] of their iudges named Bearne, bicause he was more cruell in iudgement (as they tooke the matter) than reason required. In which vengeance executed vpon the cruell iudge (if he were so seuere as this attempt of the two noble men dooth offer the readers to suspect) all such of his liuerie & calling are taught lenitie & mildnes, wherwith they should leuen the rigor of the lawe. For
[Sidenote: Ouid. lib. 2. de art. am.]
———capit indulgentia mentes, Asperitas odium saeuaque bella mouet. Odimus accipitrem, quia viuit semper in armis, Er pauidum solitos in pecus ire lupos. At caret insidijs hominum, quia mitis hirundo est, Quasque colat turres Chaonis ales habet.
At the same time, one Aswald or Alfewald reigned ouer the Northumbers, being admitted K. after that Ethelbert was expelled, and when the [Sidenote: He began his reigne ann. 779, as saith Simon Dun. and reigned but ten yeeres.] same Alfwald had reigned 10, or (as some say) 11 yeeres, he was traitorouslie and without all guilt made away; the cheefe conspirator was named Siga. The same Alfwald was a iust prince, and woorthilie gouerned the Northumbers to his high praise and commendation. He was murthered by his owne people (as before ye haue heard) the 23 of September, in the yeere of our Lord 788, and was buried at Hexham.
[Sidenote: 788. Matth. West. Simon Dun. 792.] In the yeere 792, Charles king of France sent a booke into Britaine, which was sent vnto him from Constantinople, conteining certeine articles agreed vpon in a synod (wherein were present aboue the number of three hundred bishops) quite contrarie and disagreeing from the true faith, namelie in this, that images ought to be worshipped, which the church of God vtterlie abhorreth. Against this booke Albinus that famous clearke wrote a treatise confirmed with places taken out of holie scripture, which treatise, with the booke in [Sidenote: Sim. Dunel. 800.] name of all the bishops and princes of Britaine, he presented vnto the king of France. In the yeere 800, on Christmasse eeuen chanced a maruellous tempest of wind, which ouerthrew whole cities and townes in diuerse places, and trees in great number, beside other harmes which it did, as by death of cattell, &c. In the yeere following a great part of London was consumed by fire.
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Britricus K. of the Westsaxons, his inclination, Egbert being of the bloud roiall is banished the land, & why; crosses of bloudie colour and drops of bloud fell from heauen, what they did prognosticate; the first Danes that arriued on the English coasts, and the cause of their comming; firie dragons flieng in the aire foretokens of famine and warre; Britricus is poisoned of his wife Ethelburga, hir ill qualities; why the kings of the Westsaxons decreed that their wiues should not be called queenes, the miserable end of Ethelburga; Kenulfe king of Mercia, his vertues, he restoreth the archbishops see to Canturburie which was translated to Lichfield, he inuadeth Kent, taketh the king prisoner in the field, and bountifullie setteth him at libertie, the great ioy of the people therevpon; his rare liberalitie to churchmen, his death and buriall.
THE SEUENTH CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: BRITRICUS. Hen. Hunt. Matt. West. saith 787. Simon Dun. saith 786.] After Kenwulfe, one Britricus or Brightrike was ordeined king of Westsaxons, and began his reigne in the yeere of our Lord 787, which was about the 8 yeere of the gouernment of the empresse Eirene with hir son Constantinus, and about the second yeere of the reigne of Achaius K. of Scots. This Brightrike was descended of the line of Cerdicus the first king of Westsaxons, the 16 in number from him. He was a man of nature quiet & temperate, more desirous of peace than of warre, and therefore he stood in doubt of the noble valiancie of one Egbert, which after succeeded him in the kingdome. The linage of Cerdicus was in that season so confounded and mingled, that euerie one as he grew in greatest power, stroue to be king and supreame gouernour. But speciallie Egbertus was knowne to be one that coueted that place, as he that was of the bloud roiall, and a man of great [Sidenote: Egbert banished.] power and lustie courage. King Brightrike therefore to liue in more safetie, banished him the land, and appointed him to go into France. Egbert vnderstanding certeinlie that this his departure into a forreine countrie should aduance him in time, obeied the kings pleasure.
[Sidenote: A strange woonder.] About the third yeere of Brightrikes reigne, there fell vpon mens garments, as they walked abroad, crosses of bloudie colour, and bloud fell from heauen as drops of raine. Some tooke this woonder for [Sidenote: Matt. West. Wil. Malm. Hen. Hunt. Danes.] a signification of the persecution that followed by the Danes: for shortlie after, in the yeere insuing, there arriued three Danish ships vpon the English coasts, against whome the lieutenant of the parties adjoining made foorth, to apprehend those that were come on land, howbeit aduenturing himselfe ouer rashlie amongst them, he was slaine: but afterwards when the Danes perceiued that the people of the countries about began to assemble, and were comming against them, they fled to their ships, and left their prey and spoile behind them for that time. These were the first Danes that arriued here in this land, being onelie sent (as was perceiued after) to view the countrie and coasts of the same, to vnderstand how with a greater power they might be able to inuade it, as shortlie after they did, and warred so with the Englishmen, that they got a great part of the land, and held it in their owne possession. In the tenth yeere of king Brightrikes reigne, there were seene in the aire firie dragons flieng, which betokened (as was thought) two grieuous plagues that followed. First a great [Sidenote: Famin & war signified.] dearth and famine: and secondlie a cruell war of the Danes, which shortlie followed, as ye shall heare.
Finallie, after that Brightrike had reigned the space of 16 yeeres, he [Sidenote: Ran. Cest. lib. 5. cap. 25. Brightrike departed this life.] departed this life, and was buried at Warham. Some write that he was poisoned by his wife Ethelburga daughter vnto Offa king of Mercia (as before ye haue heard) and he maried hir in the fourth yere of his reigne. She is noted by writers to haue bin a verie euill woman, proud, and high-minded as Lucifer, and therewith disdainful. She bare [Sidenote: Ethelburga hir conditions and wicked nature.] hir the more statelie, by reason of hir fathers great fame and magnificence: whome she hated she would accuse to hir husband, and so put them in danger of their liues. And if she might not so wreake hir rancour, she would not sticke to poison them.
It happened one day, as she meant to haue poisoned a yoong gentleman, against whome she had a quarell, the king chanced to tast of that cup, and died thereof (as before ye haue heard.) Hir purpose indeed was not to haue poisoned the king, but onelie the yoong gentleman, the which drinking after the king, died also, the poison was so strong and [Sidenote: A decree of the kings of the Westsaxons against their wiues.] vehement. For hir heinous crime it is said that the kings of the Westsaxons would not suffer their wiues to be called queenes, nor permit them to sit with them in open places (where their maiesties should bee shewed) manie yeeres after. Ethelburga fearing punishment, fled into France with great riches and treasure, & was well cherished [Sidenote: The end of Ethelburga. Simon Dun.] in the court of king Charles at the first, but after she was thrust into an abbeie, and demeaned hirselfe so lewdlie there, in keeping companie with one of hir owne countriemen, that she was banished the house, and after died in great miserie.
[Sidenote: Wil. Malm. Kenulfe.] Egbert king of Mercia departing this life, after he had reigned foure moneths, ordeined his coosine Kenulfe to succeed in his place, which Kenulfe was come of the line of Penda king of Mercia, as rightlie descended from his brother Kenwalke. This Kenulfe for his noble courage, wisdome, and vpright dealing, was woorthie to be compared with the best princes that haue reigned. His vertues passed his fame: nothing he did that enuie could with iust cause reprooue. At home he shewed himselfe godlie and religious, in warre he became [Sidenote: The archbishops see restored to Canturburie.] victorious, he restored the archbishops see againe to Canturburie, wherein his humblenes was to be praised, that made no account of worldlie honour in his prouince, so that the order of the ancient canons might be obserued. He had wars left him as it were by succession from his predecessour Offa against them of Kent, and thervpon entring that countrie with a mightie armie, wasted and [Sidenote: The king of Kent taken prisoner.] spoiled the same, and encountering in battell with king Edbert or Ethelbert, otherwise called Prenne, ouerthrew his armie, and tooke him prisoner in the field, but afterwards he released him to his great praise and commendation. For whereas he builded a church at Winchcombe, vpon the day of the dedication thereof, he led the Kentish king as then his prisoner, vp to the high altar, and there set him at libertie, declaring thereby a great proofe of his good nature.
There were present at that sight, Cuthred whom he had made king of Kent in place of Ethelbert, or Edbert, with 13 bishops, and 10 dukes. The noise that was made of the people in reioising at the kings bountious liberalitie was maruellous. For not onelie he thus [Sidenote: Kenulfs liberalitie towards churchmen which was not forgotten by them in their histories.] restored the Kentish king to libertie, but also bestowed great rewards vpon all the prelates and noble men that were come to the feast, euerie priest had a peece of gold, and euerie moonke a shilling. Also he dealt and gaue away great gifts amongst the people, and founded in that place an abbeie, indowing the same with great possessions. Finallie, after he had reigned 24 yeeres, he departed this life, and appointed his buriall to be in the same abbeie of Winchcombe, leauing behind him a sonne named Kenelme, who succeeded his father in the kingdome, but was soone murthered by his vnnaturall sister Quendred, the 17 of Iulie, as hereafter shall be shewed.
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Osrike king of Northumberland leaueth the kingdome to Edelbert reuoked out of exile, king Alfwalds sons miserablie slaine, Osred is put to death, Ethelbert putteth away his wife and marieth another, his people rise against him therefore and kill him, Oswald succeeding him is driuen out of the land; Ardulfe king of Northumberland, duke Wade raiseth warre against him and is discomfited; duke Aldred is slaine; a sore battell fought in Northumberland, the English men aflict one another with ciuill warres; king Ardulfe deposed from his estate; the regiment of the Northumbers refused as dangerous and deadlie by destinie, what befell them in lieu of their disloialtie; the Danes inuade their land and are vanquished; the roiall race of the Kentish kings decaieth, the state of that kingdome; the primasie restored to the see of Canturburie, Egbert (after the death of Britricus) is sent for to vndertake the gouernement of the Westsaxons, his linage.
THE EIGHT CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: OSRED. 788.] When Aswald king of Northumberland was made away, his brother Osred the sonne of Alred tooke vpon him the rule of that kingdom anno 788, and within one yeere was expelled, and left the kingdome to [Sidenote: Wil. Malm. Matth. West. Hen. Hunt. Simon Dun.] Ethelbert or Edelred as then reuoked out of exile, in which he had remained for the space of 12 yeeres, and now being restored, he continued in gouernement of the Northumbers 4 yeeres, or (as some say) [Sidenote: Duke Ardulf taken and wounded.] 7 yeeres; in the second yeere whereof duke Eardulfe was taken and led to Ripon, and there without the gate of the monasterie wounded (as was thought) to death by the said king, but the moonks taking his bodie, and laieng it in a tent without the church, after midnight he was found aliue in the church.
Moreouer, about the same time the sonnes of king Alfwald were by force drawne out of the citie of Yorke, but first by a wile they were trained out of the head church where they had taken sanctuarie, and so at length miserablie slaine by king Ethelbert in Wonwaldremere, one of them was named Alfus, & the other Alfwin. In the yeere of our [Sidenote: 792] Lord 792, Osred vpon trust of the others and promises of diuerse noble men, secretly returned into Northumberland, but his owne souldiers forsooke him, and so was he taken, and by king Ethelberts commandment put to death at Cunbridge on the 14 day of September.
The same yeere king Ethelbert maried the ladie Alfled the daughter of Offa king of Mercia, forsaking his former wife which he had, & hauing no iust cause of diuorce giuen on hir part, wherby his people tooke such displeasure against him, that finallie after he had reigned now this second time 4 yeeres, or (as other say) seuen yeeres, he could not auoid the destinie of his predecessors, but was miserablie killed by his owne subiects at Cobre, the 18 of Aprill. After whome, one Oswald a noble man was ordeined king, and within 27 or 28 daies after [Sidenote: Holie Iland.] was expelled, and constreined to flie first into the Ile of Lindesferne, and from thence vnto the king of the Picts.
[Sidenote: Ardulfe.] Then Ardulfe that was a duke and sonne to one Arnulfe was reuoked out of exile, made king, & consecrated also at Yorke by the archbishop Cumhald, and three other bishops, the 25 of June, in the yeere [Sidenote: 796.] 796. About two yeeres after, to wit, in the yeere 798 one duke Wade, and other conspirators which had beene also partakers in the [Sidenote: Walalege.] murthering of king Ethelbert, raised warre against king Ardulfe, and fought a battell with him at Walleg, but king Ardulfe got the vpper hand, and chased Wade and other his enimies out of the [Sidenote: 799.] field. In the yeere 799, duke Aldred that had murthered Ethelbert or Athelred king of Northumberland, was slaine by another duke called Chorthmond in reuenge of the death of his maister the said Ethelbert. Shortlie after, about the same time that Brightrike king of Westsaxons departed this life, there was a sore battell foughten in Northumberland at Wellehare, in the which Alricke the sonne of Herbert, and manie other with him were slaine: but to rehearse all the battels with their successes and issues, it should be too tedious and irkesome to the readers, for the English people being naturallie hard [Sidenote: The English men afflicted each other with ciuill warre.] and high-minded, continuallie scourged each other with intestine warres. About six or seuen yeeres after this battell, king Ardulfe was expelled out of the state.
Thus ye may consider in what plight things stood in Northumberland, by the often seditions, tumults and changings of gouernors, so that there be which haue written, how after the death of king Ethelbert, otherwise called Edelred, diuers bishops and other of the chiefest nobles of the countrie disdaining such traitorous prince-killings, ciuill seditions, and iniurious dealings, as it were put in dailie practise amongst the Northumbers, departed out of their natiue borders into voluntarie exile, and that from thencefoorth there was not anie of the nobilitie that durst take vpon him the kinglie gouernement amongst them, fearing the fatall prerogatiue thereof, as if it had beene Scians horsse, whose rider came euer to some euill end. But yet by that which is heeretofore shewed out of Simon Dunelm, it is euident, that there reigned kings ouer the Northumbers, but in what authoritie and power to command, it may be doubted.
Howbeit this is certeine, that the sundrie murtherings and banishments of their kings and dukes giue vs greatlie to gesse, that there was but sorie obedience vsed in the countrie, whereby for no small space of time that kingdome remained without an head gouernor, being set open to the prey and iniurie of them that were borderers vnto it, and likewise vnto strangers. For the Danes, which in those daies were great rouers, had landed before in the north parts, & spoiled the [Sidenote: This chanced in the yeere of our Lord 700, as Simon Dun. saith.] abbeie of Lindesferne otherwise called holie Iland, and perceiuing the fruitfulnesse of the countrie, and easinesse for their people to inuade it (bicause that through their priuate quarelling there was little publike resistance to be looked for) at their comming home, [Sidenote: The Danes inuade Northumberland.] entised their countriemen to make voiages into England, and so landing in Northumberland did much hurt, and obtained a great part of the countrie in manner without resistance, bicause there was no ruler there able to raise anie power of men by publike authoritie to incounter with the common enimies, whereby the countrie was brought into great miserie, partlie with war of the Danes, and ciuill dissention amongest the nobles and people themselues, no man being of authoritie (I say) able to reforme such misorders. Yet we find [Sidenote: The Danes vanquished. This was in anno 794 as Simon Dun. saith.] that the nobles and capteines of the countrie assembling togither at one time against the Danes that were landed about Tinmouth, constreined them by sharpe fight to flee backe to their ships, and tooke certeine of them in the field, whose heads they stroke off there vpon the shore. The other that got to their ships, suffered great losse of men, and likewise of their vessels by tempest.
Here then we are taught that the safest way to mainteine a monarchie, is when all degrees liue in loialtie. And that it is necessarie there should be one supereminent, vnto whome all the residue should stoope: this fraile bodie of ours may giue vs sufficient instruction. For reason ruleth in the mind as souereigne, and hath subiect vnto it all the affections and inward motions, yea the naturall actions are directed by hir gouernement: whereto if the will be obedient there cannot creepe in anie outrage or disorder. Such should be the sole regiment of a king in his kingdome; otherwise he may be called "Rex a regendo, as Mons a mouendo." For there is not a greater enimie to that estate, than to admit participants in roialtie, which as it is a readie way to cause a subuersion of a monarchie; so it is the shortest cut ouer to a disordered anarchie. But to proceed in the historie.
After that Alrike (the last of king Witchreds sonnes, which reigned in Kent successiuelie after their father) was dead, the noble ofspring of the kings there so decaied, and began to vade awaie, that euerie one which either by flattering had got rithes togither, or by seditious partaking was had in estimation, sought to haue the gouernement, and to vsurp the title of king, abusing by vnworthie means the honor and dignitie of so high an office. Amongest others, one Edbert or [Sidenote: Edelbert.] Edelbert, surnamed also Prenne, gouerned the Kentishmen for the space of two yeares, and was in the end vanquished by them of Mercia, and taken prisoner, as before is said: so that for a time he liued in captiuitie; and although afterwards he was set at libertie, yet was he not receiued againe to the kingdome, so that it is vncerteine what end he made. Cuthred that was appointed by Kinevulfe the king of Mercia, to reigne in place of the same Edbert or Edelbert, continued in the gouernement eight yeeres as king, rather by name than by act, inheriting his predecessors euill hap and calamitie, through factions and ciuill discord.
[Sidenote: Lambert.] After that Iambrith or Lambert the archbishop of Canturburie was departed this life, one Edelred was ordeined in his place, vnto whome the primasie was restored, which in his predecessors time was taken awaie by Offa king of Mercia, as before is recited. Also after the death of Eubald archbishop of Yorke, another of the same name called Eubald the second was admitted to succeed in that see. After that Brightrike the king of Westsaxons was departed this life, messengers were sent with all speed into France, to giue knowledge thereof vnto Egbert, which as before is shewed, was constreined by the said Brightrike to depart the countrie. At the first, he withdrew vnto Offa king of Mercia, with whome he remained for a time, till at length (through suit made by Brightrike) he perceiued he might not longer continue there without danger to be deliuered into his enimies hands; and so, Offa winking at the matter, he departed out of his countrie, and got him ouer into France. But being now aduertised of Brightriks death, and required by earnest letters sent from his friends to come and receiue the gouernement of the kingdome, he returned with all [Sidenote: Egbert receiued a king of Westsaxons His linage.] conuenient speed into his countrie, and was receiued immediatlie for king, by the generall consent of the Westsaxons, as well in respect of the good hope which they had conceiued of his woorthie qualities and aptnesse to haue gouernement, as of his roiall linage, being lineallie descended from Inigils the brother of king Inas, as sonne to Alkemound, that was the sonne of one Eaffa, which Eaffa was sonne to Ope the sonne of the foresaid Inigils.
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Egbert reigneth ouer the Westsaxons, his practise or exercise in the time of his exile, his martiall exploits against the Cornishmen and Welshmen, Bernulfe king of Mercia taketh indignation at Egbert for the inlarging of his roiall authoritie, they fight a sore battell, Egbert ouercommeth, great ods betweene their souldiers, bishop Alstan a warriour; Kent, Essex, Southerie, Sussex, and Eastangles subiect to Egbert; he killeth Bernulfe K. of Mercia, and conquereth the whole kingdome, Whitlafe the king thereof becommeth his tributarie, the Northumbers submit themselues to Egbert, he conquereth Northwales and the citie of Chester, he is crowned supreme gouernour of the whole land, when this Ile was called England, the Danes inuade the land, they discomfit Egberts host, the Welshmen ioine with the Danes against Egbert, they are both vanquished, Egbert dieth.
THE NINTH CHAPTER.
[Sidenote: EGBERT. 802 as Simon Dunel. and M.W. hath noted but 801.] This Egbert began his reigne in the yeare of our Lord 800, which was the 4 yeare almost ended, after that the emperour Eirine began the second time to rule the empire, and in the 24 yeare of the reigne of Charles the great king of France, which also was in the same yeare after he was made emperour of the west, and about the second yeare of Conwall king of Scots. Whilest this Egbert remained in exile, he turned his aduersaries into an occasion of his valiancie, as it had beene a grindstone to grind awaie and remoue the rust of sluggish slouthfulnes, in so much that hawnting the wars in France, in seruice of Charles the great, he atteined to great knowledge and experience, both in matters appertaining to the wars, and likewise to the well ordering of the common wealth in time of peace. The first wars that he tooke in hand, after he had atteined to the kingdome, was against the Cornishmen, a remnant of the old Britains, whome he shortlie ouercame and subdued. Then he thought good to tame the vnquiet Welshmen, the which still were readie to moue rebellion against the Englishmen, [Sidenote: Simon Dun. Hen. Hunt.] as they that being vanquished, would not yet seeme to be subdued, wherefore about the 14 yeare of his reigne, he inuaded the countrie of Wales, and went through the same from east to west, not finding anie person that durst resist him.
King Egbert hauing ouercome his enimies of Wales and Cornewall, began to grow in authoritie aboue all the other rulers within this land, in somuch that euerie of them began to feare their owne estate, but [Sidenote: Bernulf king of Mercia.] namelie Bernulfe king of Mercia sore stomached the matter, as he that was wise, and of a loftie courage, and yet doubted to haue to doo with Egbert, who was knowen also to be a man both skilfull and valiant. At length yet considering with himselfe, that if his chance should be to speed well, so much the more should his praise be increased, he determined to attempt the fortune of warre, and therevpon intimated the same vnto Egbert, who supposing it should be a dishonor vnto him [Sidenote: A battell fought at Ellendon.] to giue place, boldlie prepared to meete Bernulfe in the field. Herevpon they incountred togither at Ellendon, & fought a sore battell, in the which a huge number of men were slaine, what on the one part, and on the other but in the end the victorie remained with Egbert, although he had not the like host for number vnto Bernulfe, [Sidenote: Egbert won the victorie.] but he was a politike prince, and of great experience, hauing chosen his souldiers of nimble, leane, and hartie men; where Bernulfs [Sidenote: Wil. Malm. 826.] souldiers (through long ease) were cowardlie persons, and ouercharged with flesh. The battell was fought in the yeare of our Lord 826.
King Egbert hauing got this victorie, was aduanced into such hope, that he persuaded himselfe to be able without great adoo to ouercome the residue of his neighbours, whose estates he saw plainlie sore weakened and fallen into great decaie. Herevpon before all other, he determined to assaile Edelvulfe king of Kent, whome he knew to be a man in no estimation amongest his subiects. A competent armie therefore being leuied, he appointed his sonne Ethelwulfe & Alstan [Sidenote: Alstan bishop of Shireborn a warrior.] bishop of Shireborne, with earle Walhard to haue the conduct therof, and sent them with the same into Kent, where they wrought such maisteries, that they chased both the king and all other that would not submit themselues, out of the countrie, constreining them to [Sidenote: The conquests of the Westsaxons.] passe ouer the Thames. And herewith the Westsaxons following the victorie, brought vnder subiection of king Egbert the countries of Kent, Essex, Southerie, and Sussex. The Eastangles also about [Sidenote: Henr. Hunt.] the same time receiued king Egbert for their souereigne Lord, and comforted by his setting on against Bernulfe king of Mercia, inuaded the confines of his kingdome, in reuenge of displeasures which he had doone to them latelie before, by inuading their countrie, and as it [Sidenote: Bernulf king of Mercia slaine.] came to passe, incountring with the said Bernulfe which came against them to defend his countrie, they slue him in the field.
Thus their minds on both parts being kindled into further wrath, the Eastangles eftsoones in the yeare following fought with them of Mercia, and ouercame them againe, and slue their king Ludicenus, who succeeded Bernulfe in that kingdome, with 5 of his earles. The state of the kingdome of Mercia being weakened, Egbert conceiued an assured hope of good successe, & in the 27 yeare of his reigne, made an open inuasion into the countrie, and chasing Whitlafe king of Mercia (that succeeded Ludicenus) out of his estate, conquered the whole kingdome of the Mercies. But yet in the yeere next following, or in the third yeare after, he restored it againe to Whitlafe, with condition, that he should inioy the same as tributarie to him, and acknowledge him [Sidenote: Simon Dun.] for his supreme gouernour. The same yeare that Bernulfe king of [Sidenote: These were the Cornish men as is to be supposed.] Mercia was slaine by the Eastangles, there was a sore battell foughten at Gauelford, betwixt them of Deuonshire, and the Britains, in the which manie thousands died on both parts.
King Egbert hauing conquered all the English people inhabiting on the south side of Humber, led foorth his armie against them of Northumberland: but the Northumbers being not onelie vexed with ciuill sedition, but also with the often inuasion of Danes, perceiued not [Sidenote: King Egbert inuadeth Northumberland. The Northumbers submit themselues to king Egbert.] how they should be able to resist the power of king Egbert: and therefore vpon good aduisement taken in the matter, they resolued to submit themselues, and therevpon sent ambassadors to him to offer their submission, committing themselues wholie vnto his protection. King Egbert gladlie receiued them, and promised to defend them from all forren enimies. Thus the kingdome of Northumberland was brought vnder subiection to the kings of the Westsaxons, after the state had been sore weakened with contention and ciuill discord that had continued amongst the nobles of the countrie, for the space of manie yeeres, beside the inuasion made by outward enimies, to the greeuous damage of the people.
After that king Egbert had finished his businesse in Northumberland, [Sidenote: Ran. Higd. Northwales and the citie of Chester conquered by Egbert.] he turned his power towards the countrie of Northwales, and subdued the same, with the citie of Chester, which till those daies, the Britains or Welshmen had kept in their possession. When king Egbert had obteined these victories, and made such conquests as before is mentioned, of the people heere in this land, he caused a councell to be assembled at Winchester, and there by aduise of the high estates, he was crowned king, as souereigne gouernour and supreame lord of the whole land. It is also recorded, that he caused a commission to be directed foorth into all parts of the realme, to giue commandement, that from thence forward all the people inhabiting within this land, should be called English men, and not Saxons, and [Sidenote: The name of this ile when it was changed.] likewise the land should be called England by one generall name, though it should appeere (as before is mentioned) that it was so called shortlie after the first time that the Angles and Saxons got possession thereof.
Now was king Egbert setled in good quiet, and his dominions reduced [Sidenote: The Danes.] out of the troubles of warre, when suddenlie newes came, that the Danes with a nauie of 35 ships, were arriued on the English coasts, and began to make sore warre in the land. K. Egbert being thereof aduertised, with all conuenient speed got togither an armie, and went foorth to giue battell to the enimies. Heerevpon incountring with them, there was a sore foughten field betwixt them, which continued with great slaughter on both sides, till the night came on, and then by chance of warre the Englishmen, which before were at point to haue [Sidenote: The Englishmen discomfited by Danes. Simon Dun. H. Hunt. Matth. West.] gone awaie with victorie, were vanquished and put to flight, yet king Egbert by couert of the night escaped his enimies hands: but two of his chiefe capteins Dudda and Osmond, with two bishops, to wit, Herferd of Winchester, and Vigferd of Shireborne, were slaine in that battell, which was foughten at Carrum, about the 834 of Christ, and 34 yeere of king Egberts reigne.