The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Originally compiled on the orders of King Alfred the Great, approximately A.D. 890, and subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th Century. The original language is Anglo-Saxon (Old English), but later entries are essentially Middle English in tone.
Translation by Rev. James Ingram (London, 1823), with additional readings from the translation of Dr. J.A. Giles (London, 1847).
At present there are nine known versions or fragments of the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" in existence, all of which vary (sometimes greatly) in content and quality. The translation that follows is not a translation of any one Chronicle; rather, it is a collation of readings from many different versions.
The nine known "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" MS. are the following:
A-Prime The Parker Chronicle (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 173) A Cottonian Fragment (British Museum, Cotton MS. Otho B xi, 2) B The Abingdon Chronicle I (British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius A vi.) C The Abingdon Chronicle II (British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius B i.) D The Worcester Chronicle (British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius B iv.) E The Laud (or "Peterborough") Chronicle (Bodleian, MS. Laud 636) F The Bilingual Canterbury Epitome (British Museum, Cotton MS. Domitian A viii.) NOTE: Entries in English and Latin. H Cottonian Fragment (British Museum, Cotton MS. Domitian A ix.) I An Easter Table Chronicle (British Museum, Cotton MS. Caligula A xv.)
This electronic edition contains primarily the translation of Rev. James Ingram, as published in the Everyman edition of this text. Excerpts from the translation of Dr. J.A. Giles were included as an appendix in the Everyman edition; the preparer of this edition has elected to collate these entries into the main text of the translation. Where these collations have occurred I have marked the entry with a double parenthesis (()).
WARNING: While I have elected to include the footnotes of Rev. Ingram in this edition, please note that they should be used with extreme care. In many cases the views expressed by Rev. Ingram are severally out of date, having been superseded by almost 175 years of active scholarship. At best, these notes will provide a starting point for inquiry. They should not, however, be treated as absolute.
Classen, E. and Harmer, F.E. (eds.): "An Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius B iv." (Manchester, 1926)
Flower, Robin and Smith, Hugh (eds.): "The Peterborough Chronicle and Laws" (Early English Text Society, Original Series 208, Oxford, 1941).
Taylor, S. (ed.): "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: MS B" <aka "The Abingdon Chronicle I"> (Cambridge, 1983)
Garmonsway, G.N.: "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" (Everyman Press, London, 1953, 1972). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Contains side-by-side translations of all nine known texts.
Bede: "A History of the English Church and People" <aka "The Ecclesiastical History">, translated by Leo Sherley-Price (Penguin Classics, London, 1955, 1968).
Poole, A.L.: "Domesday Book to Magna Carta" (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1951, 1953)
Stenton, Sir Frank W.: "Anglo-Saxon England" (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1943, 1947, 1971)
ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION TO INGRAM'S EDITION 
England may boast of two substantial monuments of its early history; to either of which it would not be easy to find a parallel in any nation, ancient or modern. These are, the Record of Doomsday (1) and the "Saxon Chronicle" (2). The former, which is little more than a statistical survey, but contains the most authentic information relative to the descent of property and the comparative importance of the different parts of the kingdom at a very interesting period, the wisdom and liberality of the British Parliament long since deemed worthy of being printed (3) among the Public Records, by Commissioners appointed for that purpose. The other work, though not treated with absolute neglect, has not received that degree of attention which every person who feels an interest in the events and transactions of former times would naturally expect. In the first place, it has never been printed entire, from a collation of all the MSS. But of the extent of the two former editions, compared with the present, the reader may form some idea, when he is told that Professor Wheloc's "Chronologia Anglo-Saxonica", which was the first attempt (4) of the kind, published at Cambridge in 1644, is comprised in less than 62 folio pages, exclusive of the Latin appendix. The improved edition by Edmund Gibson, afterwards Bishop of London, printed at Oxford in 1692, exhibits nearly four times the quantity of the former; but is very far from being the entire (5) chronicle, as the editor considered it. The text of the present edition, it was found, could not be compressed within a shorter compass than 374 pages, though the editor has suppressed many notes and illustrations, which may be thought necessary to the general reader. Some variations in the MSS. may also still remain unnoticed; partly because they were considered of little importance, and partly from an apprehension, lest the commentary, as it sometimes happens, should seem an unwieldy burthen, rather than a necessary appendage, to the text. Indeed, till the editor had made some progress in the work, he could not have imagined that so many original and authentic materials of our history still remained unpublished.
To those who are unacquainted with this monument of our national antiquities, two questions appear requisite to be answered:— "What does it contain?" and, "By whom was it written?" The indulgence of the critical antiquary is solicited, whilst we endeavour to answer, in some degree, each of these questions.
To the first question we answer, that the "Saxon Chronicle" contains the original and authentic testimony of contemporary writers to the most important transactions of our forefathers, both by sea and land, from their first arrival in this country to the year 1154. Were we to descend to particulars, it would require a volume to discuss the great variety of subjects which it embraces. Suffice it to say, that every reader will here find many interesting facts relative to our architecture, our agriculture, our coinage, our commerce, our naval and military glory, our laws, our liberty, and our religion. In this edition, also, will be found numerous specimens of Saxon poetry, never before printed, which might form the ground-work of an introductory volume to Warton's elaborate annals of English Poetry. Philosophically considered, this ancient record is the second great phenomenon in the history of mankind. For, if we except the sacred annals of the Jews, contained in the several books of the Old Testament, there is no other work extant, ancient or modern, which exhibits at one view a regular and chronological panorama of a PEOPLE, described in rapid succession by different writers, through so many ages, in their own vernacular LANGUAGE. Hence it may safely be considered, nor only as the primaeval source from which all subsequent historians of English affairs have principally derived their materials, and consequently the criterion by which they are to be judged, but also as the faithful depository of our national idiom; affording, at the same time, to the scientific investigator of the human mind a very interesting and extraordinary example of the changes incident to a language, as well as to a nation, in its progress from rudeness to refinement.
But that the reader may more clearly see how much we are indebted to the "Saxon Chronicle", it will be necessary to examine what is contained in other sources of our history, prior to the accession of Henry II., the period wherein this invaluable record terminates.
The most ancient historian of our own island, whose work has been preserved, is Gildas, who flourished in the latter part of the sixth century. British antiquaries of the present day will doubtless forgive me, if I leave in their original obscurity the prophecies of Merlin, and the exploits of King Arthur, with all the Knights of the Round Table, as scarcely coming within the verge of history. Notwithstanding, also, the authority of Bale, and of the writers whom he follows, I cannot persuade myself to rank Joseph of Arimathea, Arviragus, and Bonduca, or even the Emperor Constantine himself, among the illustrious writers of Great Britain. I begin, therefore, with Gildas; because, though he did not compile a regular history of the island, he has left us, amidst a cumbrous mass of pompous rhapsody and querulous declamation some curious descriptions of the character and manners of the inhabitants; not only the Britons and Saxons, but the Picts and Scots (6). There are also some parts of his work, almost literally transcribed by Bede, which confirm the brief statements of the "Saxon Chronicle" (7). But there is, throughout, such a want of precision and simplicity, such a barrenness of facts amidst a multiplicity of words, such a scantiness of names of places and persons, of dates, and other circumstances, that we are obliged to have recourse to the Saxon Annals, or to Venerable Bede, to supply the absence of those two great lights of history—Chronology and Topography.
The next historian worth notice here is Nennius, who is supposed to have flourished in the seventh century: but the work ascribed to him is so full of interpolations and corruptions, introduced by his transcribers, and particularly by a simpleton who is called Samuel, or his master Beulanus, or both, who appear to have lived in the ninth century, that it is difficult to say how much of this motley production is original and authentic. Be that as it may, the writer of the copy printed by Gale bears ample testimony to the "Saxon Chronicle", and says expressly, that he compiled his history partly from the records of the Scots and Saxons (8). At the end is a confused but very curious appendix, containing that very genealogy, with some brief notices of Saxon affairs, which the fastidiousness of Beulanus, or of his amanuensis, the aforesaid Samuel, would not allow him to transcribe. This writer, although he professes to be the first historiographer (9) of the Britons, has sometimes repeated the very words of Gildas (10); whose name is even prefixed to some copies of the work. It is a puerile composition, without judgment, selection, or method (11); filled with legendary tales of Trojan antiquity, of magical delusion, and of the miraculous exploits of St. Germain and St. Patrick: not to mention those of the valiant Arthur, who is said to have felled to the ground in one day, single-handed, eight hundred and forty Saxons! It is remarkable, that this taste for the marvelous, which does not seem to be adapted to the sober sense of Englishmen, was afterwards revived in all its glory by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Norman age of credulity and romance.
We come now to a more cheering prospect; and behold a steady light reflected on the "Saxon Chronicle" by the "Ecclesiastical History" of Bede; a writer who, without the intervention of any legendary tale, truly deserves the title of Venerable (12). With a store of classical learning not very common in that age, and with a simplicity of language seldom found in monastic Latinity, he has moulded into something like a regular form the scattered fragments of Roman, British, Scottish, and Saxon history. His work, indeed, is professedly ecclesiastical; but, when we consider the prominent station which the Church had at this time assumed in England, we need not be surprised if we find therein the same intermixture of civil, military, and ecclesiastical affairs, which forms so remarkable a feature in the "Saxon Chronicle". Hence Gibson concludes, that many passages of the latter description were derived from the work of Bede (13). He thinks the same of the description of Britain, the notices of the Roman emperors, and the detail of the first arrival of the Saxons. But, it may be observed, those passages to which he alludes are not to be found in the earlier MSS. The description of Britain, which forms the introduction, and refers us to a period antecedent to the invasion of Julius Caesar; appears only in three copies of the "Chronicle"; two of which are of so late a date as the Norman Conquest, and both derived from the same source. Whatever relates to the succession of the Roman emperors was so universally known, that it must be considered as common property: and so short was the interval between the departure of the Romans and the arrival of the Saxons, that the latter must have preserved amongst them sufficient memorials and traditions to connect their own history with that of their predecessors. Like all rude nations, they were particularly attentive to genealogies; and these, together with the succession of their kings, their battles, and their conquests, must be derived originally from the Saxons themselves, and not from Gildas, or Nennius, or Bede (14). Gibson himself was so convinced of this, that he afterwards attributes to the "Saxon Chronicle" all the knowledge we have of those early times (15). Moreover, we might ask, if our whole dependence had been centered in Bede, what would have become of us after his death? (16) Malmsbury indeed asserts, with some degree of vanity, that you will not easily find a Latin historian of English affairs between Bede and himself (17); and in the fulness of self-complacency professes his determination, "to season with Roman salt the barbarisms of his native tongue!" He affects great contempt for Ethelwerd, whose work will be considered hereafter; and he well knew how unacceptable any praise of the "Saxon Annals" would be to the Normans, with whom he was connected (18). He thinks it necessary to give his reasons, on one occasion, for inserting from these very "Annals" what he did not find in Bede; though it is obvious, that the best part of his materials, almost to his own times, is derived from the same source.
The object of Bishop Asser, the biographer of Alfred, who comes next in order, was to deliver to posterity a complete memorial of that sovereign, and of the transactions of his reign. To him alone are we indebted for the detail of many interesting circumstances in the life and character of his royal patron (19); but most of the public transactions will be found in the pages of the "Saxon Chronicle": some passages of which he appears to have translated so literally, that the modern version of Gibson does not more closely represent the original. In the editions of Parker, Camden, and Wise, the last notice of any public event refers to the year 887. The interpolated copy of Gale, called by some Pseudo-Asserius, and by others the Chronicle of St. Neot's, is extended to the year 914 (20). Much difference of opinion exists respecting this work; into the discussion of which it is not our present purpose to enter. One thing is remarkable: it contains the vision of Drihtelm, copied from Bede, and that of Charles King of the Franks, which Malmsbury thought it worth while to repeat in his "History of the Kings of England". What Gale observes concerning the "fidelity" with which these annals of Asser are copied by Marianus, is easily explained. They both translated from the "Saxon Chronicle", as did also Florence of Worcester, who interpolated Marianus; of whom we shall speak hereafter.
But the most faithful and extraordinary follower of the "Saxon Annals" is Ethelwerd; who seems to have disregarded almost all other sources of information. One great error, however, he committed; for which Malmsbury does nor spare him. Despairing of the reputation of classical learning, if he had followed the simplicity of the Saxon original, he fell into a sort of measured and inverted prose, peculiar to himself; which, being at first sufficiently obscure, is sometimes rendered almost unintelligible by the incorrect manner in which it has been printed. His authority, nevertheless, in an historical point of view, is very respectable. Being one of the few writers untainted by monastic prejudice (21), he does not travel out of his way to indulge in legendary tales and romantic visions. Critically considered, his work is the best commentary on the "Saxon Chronicle" to the year 977; at which period one of the MSS. which he seems to have followed, terminates. Brevity and compression seem to have been his aim, because the compilation was intended to be sent abroad for the instruction of a female relative of high rank in Germany (22), at her request. But there are, nevertheless, some circumstances recorded which are not to be found elsewhere; so that a reference to this epitome of Saxon history will be sometimes useful in illustrating the early part of the "Chronicle"; though Gibson, I know not on what account, has scarcely once quoted it.
During the sanguinary conflicts of the eleventh century, which ended first in the temporary triumph of the Danes, and afterwards in the total subjugation of the country by the Normans, literary pursuits, as might be expected, were so much neglected, that scarcely a Latin writer is to be found: but the "Saxon Chronicle" has preserved a regular and minute detail of occurrences, as they passed along, of which subsequent historians were glad to avail themselves. For nearly a century after the Conquest, the Saxon annalists appear to have been chiefly eye-witnesses of the transactions which they relate (23). The policy of the Conqueror led him by degrees to employ Saxons as well as Normans: and William II. found them the most faithful of his subjects: but such an influx of foreigners naturally corrupted the ancient language; till at length, after many foreign and domestic wars, tranquillity being restored on the accession of Henry II., literature revived; a taste for composition increased; and the compilation of Latin histories of English and foreign affairs, blended and diversified with the fabled romance and legendary tale, became the ordinary path to distinction. It is remarkable, that when the "Saxon Chronicle" ends, Geoffrey of Monmouth begins. Almost every great monastery about this time had its historian: but some still adhered to the ancient method. Florence of Worcester, an interpolator of Marianus, as we before observed, closely follows Bede, Asser, and the "Saxon Chronicle" (24). The same may be observed of the annals of Gisburne, of Margan, of Meiros, of Waverley, etc.; some of which are anonymous compilations, whilst others have the name of an author, or rather transcriber; for very few aspired to the character of authors or original historians. Thomas Wikes, a canon of Oseney, who compiled a Latin chronicle of English affairs from the Conquest to the year 1304, tells us expressly, that he did this, not because he could add much to the histories of Bede, William of Newburgh, and Matthew Paris, but "propter minores, quibus non suppetit copia librorum." (25) Before the invention of printing, it was necessary that numerous copies of historical works should be transcribed, for the instruction of those who had not access to libraries. The transcribers frequently added something of their own, and abridged or omitted what they thought less interesting. Hence the endless variety of interpolators and deflorators of English history. William of Malmsbury, indeed, deserves to be selected from all his competitors for the superiority of his genius; but he is occasionally inaccurate, and negligent of dates and other minor circumstances; insomuch that his modern translator has corrected some mistakes, and supplied the deficiencies in his chronology, by a reference to the "Saxon Chronicle". Henry of Huntingdon, when he is not transcribing Bede, or translating the "Saxon Annals", may be placed on the same shelf with Geoffrey of Monmouth.
As I have now brought the reader to the period when our "Chronicle" terminates, I shall dismiss without much ceremony the succeeding writers, who have partly borrowed from this source; Simon of Durham, who transcribes Florence of Worcester, the two priors of Hexham, Gervase, Hoveden, Bromton, Stubbes, the two Matthews, of Paris and Westminster, and many others, considering that sufficient has been said to convince those who may not have leisure or opportunity to examine the matter themselves, that however numerous are the Latin historians of English affairs, almost everything original and authentic, and essentially conducive to a correct knowledge of our general history, to the period above mentioned, may be traced to the "Saxon Annals".
It is now time to examine, who were probably the writers of these "Annals". I say probably, because we have very little more than rational conjecture to guide us.
The period antecedent to the times of Bede, except where passages were afterwards inserted, was perhaps little else, originally, than a kind of chronological table of events, with a few genealogies, and notices of the death and succession of kings and other distinguished personages. But it is evident from the preface of Bede and from many passages in his work, that he received considerable assistance from Saxon bishops, abbots, and others; who not only communicated certain traditionary facts "viva voce", but also transmitted to him many written documents. These, therefore, must have been the early chronicles of Wessex, of Kent, and of the other provinces of the Heptarchy; which formed together the ground-work of his history. With greater honesty than most of his followers, he has given us the names of those learned persons who assisted him with this local information. The first is Alcuinus or Albinus, an abbot of Canterbury, at whose instigation he undertook the work; who sent by Nothelm, afterwards archbishop of that province, a full account of all ecclesiastical transactions in Kent, and in the contiguous districts, from the first conversion of the Saxons. From the same source he partly derived his information respecting the provinces of Essex, Wessex, East Anglia, and Northumbria. Bishop Daniel communicated to him by letter many particulars concerning Wessex, Sussex, and the Isle of Wight. He acknowledges assistance more than once "ex scriptis priorum"; and there is every reason to believe that some of these preceding records were the "Anglo-Saxon Annals"; for we have already seen that such records were in existence before the age of Nennius. In proof of this we may observe, that even the phraseology sometimes partakes more of the Saxon idiom than the Latin. If, therefore, it be admitted, as there is every reason to conclude from the foregoing remarks, that certain succinct and chronological arrangements of historical facts had taken place in several provinces of the Heptarchy before the time of Bede, let us inquire by whom they were likely to have been made.
In the province of Kent, the first person on record, who is celebrated for his learning, is Tobias, the ninth bishop of Rochester, who succeeded to that see in 693. He is noticed by Bede as not only furnished with an ample store of Greek and Latin literature, but skilled also in the Saxon language and erudition (26). It is probable, therefore, that he left some proofs of this attention to his native language and as he died within a few years of Bede, the latter would naturally avail himself of his labours. It is worthy also of remark, that Bertwald, who succeeded to the illustrious Theodore of Tarsus in 690, was the first English or Saxon archbishop of Canterbury. From this period, consequently, we may date that cultivation of the vernacular tongue which would lead to the composition of brief chronicles (27), and other vehicles of instruction, necessary for the improvement of a rude and illiterate people. The first chronicles were, perhaps, those of Kent or Wessex; which seem to have been regularly continued, at intervals, by the archbishops of Canterbury, or by their direction (28), at least as far as the year 1001, or by even 1070; for the Benet MS., which some call the Plegmund MS., ends in the latter year; the rest being in Latin. From internal evidence indeed, of an indirect nature, there is great reason to presume, that Archbishop Plegmund transcribed or superintended this very copy of the "Saxon Annals" to the year 891 (29); the year in which he came to the see; inserting, both before and after this date, to the time of his death in 923, such additional materials as he was well qualified to furnish from his high station and learning, and the confidential intercourse which he enjoyed in the court of King Alfred. The total omission of his own name, except by another hand, affords indirect evidence of some importance in support of this conjecture. Whether King Alfred himself was the author of a distinct and separate chronicle of Wessex, cannot now be determined. That he furnished additional supplies of historical matter to the older chronicles is, I conceive, sufficiently obvious to every reader who will take the trouble of examining the subject. The argument of Dr. Beeke, the present Dean of Bristol, in an obliging letter to the editor on this subject, is not without its force;—that it is extremely improbable, when we consider the number and variety of King Alfred's works, that he should have neglected the history, of his own country. Besides a genealogy of the kings of Wessex from Cerdic to his own time, which seems never to have been incorporated with any MS. of the "Saxon Chronicle", though prefixed or annexed to several, he undoubtedly preserved many traditionary facts; with a full and circumstantial detail of his own operations, as well as those of his father, brother, and other members of his family; which scarcely any other person than himself could have supplied. To doubt this would be as incredulous a thing as to deny that Xenophon wrote his "Anabasis", or Caesar his "Commentaries". From the time of Alfred and Plegmund to a few years after the Norman Conquest, these chronicles seem to have been continued by different hands, under the auspices of such men as Archbishops Dunstan, Aelfric, and others, whose characters have been much misrepresented by ignorance and scepticism on the one hand; as well as by mistaken zeal and devotion on the other. The indirect evidence respecting Dunstan and Aelfric is as curious as that concerning Plegmund; but the discussion of it would lead us into a wide and barren field of investigation; nor is this the place to refute the errors of Hickes, Cave, and Wharton, already noticed by Wanley in his preface. The chronicles of Abingdon, of Worcester, of Peterborough, and others, are continued in the same manner by different hands; partly, though not exclusively, by monks of those monasteries, who very naturally inserted many particulars relating to their own local interests and concerns; which, so far from invalidating the general history, render it more interesting and valuable. It would be a vain and frivolous attempt ascribe these latter compilations to particular persons (31), where there were evidently so many contributors; but that they were successively furnished by contemporary writers, many of whom were eye-witnesses of the events and transactions which they relate, there is abundance of internal evidence to convince us. Many instances of this the editor had taken some pains to collect, in order to lay them before the reader in the preface; but they are so numerous that the subject would necessarily become tedious; and therefore every reader must be left to find them for himself. They will amply repay him for his trouble, if he takes any interest in the early history of England, or in the general construction of authentic history of any kind. He will see plagarisms without end in the Latin histories, and will be in no danger of falling into the errors of Gale and others; not to mention those of our historians who were not professed antiquaries, who mistook that for original and authentic testimony which was only translated. It is remarkable that the "Saxon Chronicle" gradually expires with the Saxon language, almost melted into modern English, in the year 1154. From this period almost to the Reformation, whatever knowledge we have of the affairs of England has been originally derived either from the semi-barbarous Latin of our own countrymen, or from the French chronicles of Froissart and others.
The revival of good taste and of good sense, and of the good old custom adopted by most nations of the civilised world—that of writing their own history in their own language—was happily exemplified at length in the laborious works of our English chroniclers and historians.
Many have since followed in the same track; and the importance of the whole body of English History has attracted and employed the imagination of Milton, the philosophy of Hume, the simplicity of Goldsmith, the industry of Henry, the research of Turner, and the patience of Lingard. The pages of these writers, however, accurate and luminous as they generally are, as well as those of Brady, Tyrrell, Carte, Rapin, and others, not to mention those in black letter, still require correction from the "Saxon Chronicle"; without which no person, however learned, can possess anything beyond a superficial acquaintance with the elements of English History, and of the British Constitution.
Some remarks may here be requisite on the CHRONOLOGY of the "Saxon Chronicle". In the early part of it (32) the reader will observe a reference to the grand epoch of the creation of the world. So also in Ethelwerd, who closely follows the "Saxon Annals". It is allowed by all, that considerable difficulty has occurred in fixing the true epoch of Christ's nativity (33), because the Christian aera was not used at all till about the year 532 (34), when it was introduced by Dionysius Exiguus; whose code of canon law, joined afterwards with the decretals of the popes, became as much the standard of authority in ecclesiastical matters as the pandects of Justinian among civilians. But it does not appear that in the Saxon mode of computation this system of chronology was implicitly followed. We mention this circumstance, however, not with a view of settling the point of difference, which would not be easy, but merely to account for those variations observable m different MSS.; which arose, not only from the common mistakes or inadvertencies of transcribers, but from the liberty which the original writers themselves sometimes assumed in this country, of computing the current year according to their own ephemeral or local custom. Some began with the Incarnation or Nativity of Christ; some with the Circumcision, which accords with the solar year of the Romans as now restored; whilst others commenced with the Annunciation; a custom which became very prevalent in honour of the Virgin Mary, and was not formally abolished here till the year 1752; when the Gregorian calendar, commonly called the New Style, was substituted by Act of Parliament for the Dionysian. This diversity of computation would alone occasion some confusion; but in addition to this, the INDICTION, or cycle of fifteen years, which is mentioned in the latter part of the "Saxon Chronicle", was carried back three years before the vulgar aera, and commenced in different places at four different periods of the year! But it is very remarkable that, whatever was the commencement of the year in the early part of the "Saxon Chronicle", in the latter part the year invariably opens with Midwinter-day or the Nativity. Gervase of Canterbury, whose Latin chronicle ends in 1199, the aera of "legal" memory, had formed a design, as he tells us, of regulating his chronology by the Annunciation; but from an honest fear of falsifying dates he abandoned his first intention, and acquiesced in the practice of his predecessors; who for the most part, he says, began the new year with the Nativity (35).
Having said thus much in illustration of the work itself, we must necessarily be brief in our account of the present edition. It was contemplated many years since, amidst a constant succession of other occupations; but nothing was then projected beyond a reprint of Gibson, substituting an English translation for the Latin. The indulgence of the Saxon scholar is therefore requested, if we have in the early part of the chronicle too faithfully followed the received text. By some readers no apology of this kind will be deemed necessary; but something may be expected in extenuation of the delay which has retarded the publication. The causes of that delay must be chiefly sought in the nature of the work itself. New types were to be cast; compositors to be instructed in a department entirely new to them; manuscripts to be compared, collated, transcribed; the text to be revised throughout; various readings of great intricacy to be carefully presented, with considerable additions from unpublished sources; for, however unimportant some may at first sight appear, the most trivial may be of use. With such and other difficulties before him, the editor has, nevertheless, been blessed with health and leisure sufficient to overcome them; and he may now say with Gervase the monk at the end of his first chronicle,
"Finito libro reddatur gratia Christo." (36)
Of the translation it is enough to observe, that it is made as literal as possible, with a view of rendering the original easy to those who are at present unacquainted with the Saxon language. By this method also the connection between the ancient and modern language will be more obvious. The same method has been adopted in an unpublished translation of Gibson's "Chronicle" by the late Mr. Cough, now in the Bodleian Library. But the honour of having printed the first literal version of the "Saxon Annals" was reserved for a learned LADY, the Elstob of her age (37); whose Work was finished in the year 1819. These translations, however, do not interfere with that in the present edition; because they contain nothing but what is found in the printed texts, and are neither accompanied with the original, nor with any collation of MSS.
ENDNOTES: (1) Whatever was the origin of this title, by which it is now distinguished, in an appendix to the work itself it is called "Liber de Wintonia," or "The Winchester-Book," from its first place of custody. (2) This title is retained, in compliance with custom, though it is a collection of chronicles, rather than one uniform work, as the received appellation seems to imply. (3) In two volumes folio, with the following title: "Domesday-Book, seu Liber Censualis Willelmi Primi Regis Angliae, inter Archlyos Regni in Domo Capitulari Westmonasterii asservatus: jubente rege augustissimo Georgio Tertio praelo mandatus typis MDCCLXXXIII" (4) Gerard Langbaine had projected such a work, and had made considerable progress in the collation of MSS., when he found himself anticipated by Wheloc. (5) "Nunc primum integrum edidit" is Gibson's expression in the title-page. He considers Wheloc's MSS. as fragments, rather than entire chronicles: "quod integrum nacti jam discimus." These MSS., however, were of the first authority, and not less entire, as far as they went, than his own favourite "Laud". But the candid critic will make allowance for the zeal of a young Bachelor of Queen's, who, it must be remembered, had scarcely attained the age of twenty-three when this extraordinary work was produced. (6) The reader is forcibly reminded of the national dress of the Highlanders in the following singular passage: "furciferos magis vultus pilis, quam corporum pudenda, pudendisque proxima, vestibus tegentes." (7) See particularly capp. xxiii. and xxvi. The work which follows, called the "Epistle of Gildas", is little more than a cento of quotations from the Old and New Testament. (8) "De historiis Scotorum Saxonumque, licet inimicorum," etc. "Hist. Brit. ap." Gale, XV. Script. p. 93. See also p. 94 of the same work; where the writer notices the absence of all written memorials among the Britons, and attributes it to the frequent recurrence of war and pestilence. A new edition has been prepared from a Vatican MS. with a translation and notes by the Rev. W. Gunn, and published by J. and A. Arch. (9) "Malo me historiographum quam neminem," etc. (10) He considered his work, perhaps, as a lamentation of declamation, rather than a history. But Bede dignifies him with the title of "historicus," though he writes "fiebili sermone." (11) But it is probable that the work is come down to us in a garbled and imperfect state. (12) There is an absurd story of a monk, who in vain attempting to write his epitaph, fell asleep, leaving it thus: "Hac sunt in fossa Bedae. ossa:" but, when he awoke, to his great surprise and satisfaction he found the long-sought epithet supplied by an angelic hand, the whole line standing thus: "Hac sunt in fossa Bedae venerabilis ossa." (13) See the preface to his edition of the "Saxon Chronicle". (14) This will be proved more fully when we come to speak of the writers of the "Saxon Chronicle". (15) Preface, "ubi supra". (16) He died A.D. 734, according to our chronicle; but some place his death to the following year. (17) This circumstance alone proves the value of the "Saxon Chronicle". In the "Edinburgh Chronicle" of St. Cross, printed by H. Wharton, there is a chasm from the death of Bede to the year 1065; a period of 330 years. (18) The cold and reluctant manner in which he mentions the "Saxon Annals", to which he was so much indebted, can only be ascribed to this cause in him, as well as in the other Latin historians. See his prologue to the first book, "De Gestis Regum," etc. (19) If there are additional anecdotes in the Chronicle of St. Neot's, which is supposed to have been so called by Leland because he found the MS. there, it must be remembered that this work is considered an interpolated Asser. (20) The death of Asser himself is recorded in the year 909; but this is no more a proof that the whole work is spurious, than the character and burial of Moses, described in the latter part of the book of "Deuteronomy", would go to prove that the Pentateuch was not written by him. See Bishop Watson's "Apology for the Bible". (21) Malmsbury calls him "noble and magnificent," with reference to his rank; for he was descended from King Alfred: but he forgets his peculiar praise—that of being the only Latin historian for two centuries; though, like Xenophon, Caesar, and Alfred, he wielded the sword as much as the pen. (22) This was no less a personage than Matilda, the daughter of Otho the Great, Emperor of Germany, by his first Empress Eadgitha or Editha; who is mentioned in the "Saxon Chronicle", A.D. 925, though not by name, as given to Otho by her brother, King Athelstan. Ethelwerd adds, in his epistle to Matilda, that Athelstan sent two sisters, in order that the emperor might take his choice; and that he preferred the mother of Matilda. (23) See particularly the character of William I. p. 294, written by one who was in his court. The compiler of the "Waverley Annals" we find literally translating it more than a century afterwards:—"nos dicemus, qui eum vidimus, et in curia ejus aliquando fuimus," etc.—Gale, ii. 134. (24) His work, which is very faithfully and diligently compiled, ends in the year 1117; but it is continued by another hand to the imprisonment of King Stephen. (25) "Chron. ap." Gale, ii. 21. (26) "Virum Latina, Graec, et Saxonica lingua atque eruditione multipliciter instructum."—Bede, "Ecclesiastical History", v. 8. "Chron. S. Crucis Edinb. ap.", Wharton, i. 157. (27) The materials, however, though not regularly arranged, must be traced to a much higher source. (28) Josselyn collated two Kentish MSS. of the first authority; one of which he calls the History or Chronicle of St. Augustine's, the other that of Christ Church, Canterbury. The former was perhaps the one marked in our series "C.T." A VI.; the latter the Benet or Plegmund MS. (29) Wanley observes, that the Benet MS. is written in one and the same hand to this year, and in hands equally ancient to the year 924; after which it is continued in different hands to the end. Vid. "Cat." p. 130. (30) Florence of Worcester, in ascertaining the succession of the kings of Wessex, refers expressly to the "Dicta Aelfredi". Ethelwerd had before acknowledged that he reported many things—"sicut docuere parentes;" and then he immediately adds, "Scilicet Aelfred rex Athulfi regis filius; ex quo nos originem trahimus." Vid. Prol. (31) Hickes supposed the Laud or Peterborough Chronicle to have been compiled by Hugo Candidus (Albus, or White), or some other monk of that house. (32) See A.D. xxxiii., the aera of Christ's crucifixion, p. 23, and the notes below. (33) See Playfair's "System of Chronology", p. 49. (34) Playfair says 527: but I follow Bede, Florence of Worcester, and others, who affirm that the great paschal cycle of Dionysius commenced from the year of our Lord's incarnation 532—the year in which the code of Justinian was promulgated. "Vid. Flor. an." 532, 1064, and 1073. See also M. West. "an." 532. (35) "Vid. Prol. in Chron." Bervas. "ap. X." Script. p. 1338. (36) Often did the editor, during the progress of the work, sympathise with the printer; who, in answer to his urgent importunities to hasten the work, replied once in the classical language of Manutius: "Precor, ut occupationibus meis ignoscas; premor enim oneribus, et typographiae cura, ut vix sustineam." Who could be angry after this? (37) Miss Gurney, of Keswick, Norfolk. The work, however, was not published.
THE ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE
The island Britain (1) is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations; English, Welsh (or British) (2), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia (3), and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell there together; "But," said the Scots, "we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may gain it." Then went the Picts and entered this land northward. Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on condition that they chose their kings always on the female side (4); which they have continued to do, so long since. And it happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their leader was called Reoda (5), from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).
Sixty winters ere that Christ was born, Caius Julius, emperor of the Romans, with eighty ships sought Britain. There he was first beaten in a dreadful fight, and lost a great part of his army. Then he let his army abide with the Scots (6), and went south into Gaul. There he gathered six hundred ships, with which he went back into Britain. When they first rushed together, Caesar's tribune, whose name was Labienus (7), was slain. Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great clubs into the water, at a certain ford of the river called Thames. When the Romans found that, they would not go over the ford. Then fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the woods; and Caesar, having after much fighting gained many of the chief towns, went back into Gaul (8).
((B.C. 60. Before the incarnation of Christ sixty years, Gaius Julius the emperor, first of the Romans, sought the land of Britain; and he crushed the Britons in battle, and overcame them; and nevertheless he was unable to gain any empire there.))
A.D. 1. Octavianus reigned fifty-six winters; and in the forty-second year of his reign Christ was born. Then three astrologers from the east came to worship Christ; and the children in Bethlehem were slain by Herod in persecution of Christ.
A.D. 3. This year died Herod, stabbed by his own hand; and Archelaus his son succeeded him. The child Christ was also this year brought back again from Egypt.
A.D. 6. From the beginning of the world to this year were agone five thousand and two hundred winters.
A.D. 11. This year Herod the son of Antipater undertook the government in Judea.
A.D. 12. This year Philip and Herod divided Judea into four kingdoms.
((A.D. 12. This year Judea was divided into four tetrarchies.))
A.D. 16. This year Tiberius succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 26. This year Pilate began to reign over the Jews.
A.D. 30. This year was Christ baptized; and Peter and Andrew were converted, together with James, and John, and Philip, and all the twelve apostles.
A.D. 33. This year was Christ crucified; (9) about five thousand two hundred and twenty six winters from the beginning of the world. (10)
A.D. 34. This year was St. Paul converted, and St. Stephen stoned.
A.D. 35. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal see in the city of Antioch.
A.D. 37. This year (11) Pilate slew himself with his own hand.
A.D. 39. This year Caius undertook the empire.
A.D. 44. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal see at Rome; and James, the brother of John, was slain by Herod.
A.D. 45. This year died Herod, who slew James one year ere his own death.
A.D. 46. This year Claudius, the second of the Roman emperors who invaded Britain, took the greater part of the island into his power, and added the Orkneys to rite dominion of the Romans. This was in the fourth year of his reign. And in the same year (12) happened the great famine in Syria which Luke mentions in the book called "The Acts of the Apostles". After Claudius Nero succeeded to the empire, who almost lost the island Britain through his incapacity.
((A.D. 46. This year the Emperor Claudius came to Britain, and subdued a large part of the island; and he also added the island of Orkney to the dominion of the Romans.))
A.D. 47. This year Mark, the evangelist in Egypt beginneth to write the gospel.
((A.D. 47. This was in the fourth year of his reign, and in this same year was the great famine in Syria which Luke speaks of in the book called "Actus Apostolorum".))
((A.D. 47. This year Claudius, king of the Romans, went with an army into Britain, and subdued the island, and subjected all the Picts and Welsh to the rule of the Romans.))
A.D. 50. This year Paul was sent bound to Rome.
A.D. 62. This year James, the brother of Christ, suffered.
A.D. 63. This year Mark the evangelist departed this life.
A.D. 69. This year Peter and Paul suffered.
A.D. 70. This year Vespasian undertook the empire.
A.D. 71. This year Titus, son of Vespasian, slew in Jerusalem eleven hundred thousand Jews.
A.D. 81. This year Titus came to the empire, after Vespasian, who said that he considered the day lost in which he did no good.
A.D. 83. This year Domitian, the brother of Titus, assumed the government.
A.D. 84. This year John the evangelist in the island Patmos wrote the book called "The Apocalypse".
A.D. 90. This year Simon, the apostle, a relation of Christ, was crucified: and John the evangelist rested at Ephesus.
A.D. 92. This year died Pope Clement.
A.D. 110. This year Bishop Ignatius suffered.
A.D. 116. This year Hadrian the Caesar began to reign.
A.D. 145. This year Marcus Antoninus and Aurelius his brother succeeded to the empire.
((A.D. 167. This year Eleutherius succeeded to the popedom, and held it fifteen years; and in the same year Lucius, king of the Britons, sent and begged baptism of him. And he soon sent it him, and they continued in the true faith until the time of Diocletian.))
A.D. 189. This year Severus came to the empire; and went with his army into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons. He reigned seventeen years; and then ended his days at York. His son Bassianus succeeded him in the empire. His other son, who perished, was called Geta. This year Eleutherius undertook the bishopric of Rome, and held it honourably for fifteen winters. To him Lucius, king of the Britons, sent letters, and prayed that he might be made a Christian. He obtained his request; and they continued afterwards in the right belief until the reign of Diocletian.
A.D. 199. In this year was found the holy rood. (13)
A.D. 283. This year suffered Saint Alban the Martyr.
A.D. 343. This year died St. Nicolaus.
A.D. 379. This year Gratian succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 381. This year Maximus the Caesar came to the empire. He was born in the land of Britain, whence he passed over into Gaul. He there slew the Emperor Gratian; and drove his brother, whose name was Valentinian, from his country (Italy). The same Valentinian afterwards collected an army, and slew Maximus; whereby he gained the empire. About this time arose the error of Pelagius over the world.
A.D. 418. This year the Romans collected all the hoards of gold (14) that were in Britain; and some they hid in the earth, so that no man afterwards might find them, and some they carried away with them into Gaul.
A.D. 423. This year Theodosius the younger succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 429. This year Bishop Palladius was sent from Pope Celesrinus to the Scots, that he might establish their faith.
A.D. 430. This year Patricius was sent from Pope Celestinus to preach baptism to the Scots.
((A.D. 430. This year Patrick was sent by Pope Celestine to preach baptism to the Scots.))
A.D. 435. This year the Goths sacked the city of Rome; and never since have the Romans reigned in Britain. This was about eleven hundred and ten winters after it was built. They reigned altogether in Britain four hundred and seventy winters since Gaius Julius first sought that land.
A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome, and begged assistance against the Picts; but they had none, for the Romans were at war with Atila, king of the Huns. Then sent they to the Angles, and requested the same from the nobles of that nation.
A.D. 444. This year died St. Martin.
A.D. 448. This year John the Baptist showed his head to two monks, who came from the eastern country to Jerusalem for the sake of prayer, in the place that whilom was the palace of Herod. (15)
A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them. The king directed them to fight against the Picts; and they did so; and obtained the victory wheresoever they came. They then sent to the Angles, and desired them to send more assistance. They described the worthlessness of the Britons, and the richness of the land. They then sent them greater support. Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the men of Kent, the Wightwarians (that is, the tribe that now dwelleth in the Isle of Wight), and that kindred in Wessex that men yet call the kindred of the Jutes. From the Old Saxons came the people of Essex and Sussex and Wessex. From Anglia, which has ever since remained waste between the Jutes and the Saxons, came the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians, and all of those north of the Humber. Their leaders were two brothers, Hengest and Horsa; who were the sons of Wihtgils; Wihtgils was the son of Witta, Witta of Wecta, Wecta of Woden. From this Woden arose all our royal kindred, and that of the Southumbrians also.
((A.D. 449. And in their days Vortigern invited the Angles thither, and they came to Britain in three ceols, at the place called Wippidsfleet.))
A.D. 455. This year Hengest and Horsa fought with Wurtgern the king on the spot that is called Aylesford. His brother Horsa being there slain, Hengest afterwards took to the kingdom with his son Esc.
A.D. 457. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Crayford, and there slew four thousand men. The Britons then forsook the land of Kent, and in great consternation fled to London.
A.D. 465. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, nigh Wippedfleet; and there slew twelve leaders, all Welsh. On their side a thane was there slain, whose name was Wipped.
A.D. 473. This year Hengest and Esc fought with the Welsh, and took immense Booty. And the Welsh fled from the English like fire.
A.D. 477. This year came Ella to Britain, with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called Andred'sley.
A.D. 482. This year the blessed Abbot Benedict shone in this world, by the splendour of those virtues which the blessed Gregory records in the book of Dialogues.
A.D. 485. This year Ella fought with the Welsh nigh Mecred's-Burnsted.
A.D. 488. This year Esc succeeded to the kingdom; and was king of the men of Kent twenty-four winters.
A.D. 490. This year Ella and Cissa besieged the city of Andred, and slew all that were therein; nor was one Briten left there afterwards.
A.D. 495. This year came two leaders into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, at a place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And they fought with the Welsh the same day. Then he died, and his son Cynric succeeded to the government, and held it six and twenty winters. Then he died; and Ceawlin, his son, succeeded, who reigned seventeen years. Then he died; and Ceol succeeded to the government, and reigned five years. When he died, Ceolwulf, his brother, succeeded, and reigned seventeen years. Their kin goeth to Cerdic. Then succeeded Cynebils, Ceolwulf's brother's son, to the kingdom; and reigned one and thirty winters. And he first of West-Saxon kings received baptism. Then succeeded Cenwall, who was the son of Cynegils, and reigned one and thirty winters. Then held Sexburga, his queen, the government one year after him. Then succeeded Escwine to the kingdom, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and held it two years. Then succeeded Centwine, the son of Cynegils, to the kingdom of the West-Saxons, and reigned nine years. Then succeeded Ceadwall to the government, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and held it three years. Then succeeded Ina to the kingdom of the West-Saxons, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned thirty-seven winters. Then succeeded Ethelheard, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned sixteen years. Then succeeded Cuthred, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned sixteen winters. Then succeeded Sigebriht, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned one year. Then succeeded Cynwulf, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned one and thirty winters. Then succeeded Brihtric, whose kin goeth to Cerdic, and reigned sixteen years. Then succeeded Egbert to the kingdom, and held it seven and thirty winters, and seven months. Then succeeded Ethelwulf, his son, and reigned eighteen years and a half. Ethelwulf was the son of Egbert, Egbert of Ealmund, Ealmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa, Eoppa of Ingild, Ingild of Cenred (Ina of Cenred, Cuthburga of Cenred, and Cwenburga of Cenred), Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cuthwulf, Cuthwulf of Cuthwine, Cuthwine of Celm, Celm of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda, Creoda of Cerdic. Then succeeded Ethelbald, the son of Ethelwulf, to the kingdom, and held it five years. Then succeeded Ethelbert, his brother, and reigned five years. Then succeeded Ethelred, his brother, to the kingdom, and held it five years. Then succeeded Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained the land of Wessex from the Welsh. And he held the kingdom a year and a half less than thirty winters. Then succeeded Edward, the son of Alfred, and reigned twenty-four winters. When he died, then succeeded Athelstan, his son, and reigned fourteen years and seven weeks and three days. Then succeeded Edmund, his brother, and reigned six years and a half, wanting two nights. Then succeeded Edred, his brother, and reigned nine years and six weeks. Then succeeded Edwy, the son of Edmund, and reigned three years and thirty-six weeks, wanting two days. When he died, then succeeded Edgar, his brother, and reigned sixteen years and eight weeks and two nights. When he died, then succeeded Edward, the son of Edgar, and reigned—
A.D. 501. This year Porta and his two sons, Beda and Mela, came into Britain, with two ships, at a place called Portsmouth. They soon landed, and slew on the spot a young Briton of very high rank.
A.D. 508. This year Cerdic and Cynric slew a British king, whose name was Natanleod, and five thousand men with him. After this was the land named Netley, from him, as far as Charford.
A.D. 509. This year St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all the monks, (16) ascended to heaven.
A.D. 514. This year came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. And Stuff and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight.
A.D. 519. This year Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West-Saxons; the same year they fought with the Britons at a place now called Charford. From that day have reigned the children of the West-Saxon kings.
A.D. 527. This year Cerdic and Cynric fought with the Britons in the place that is called Cerdic's-ley.
A.D. 530. This year Cerdic and Cynric took the isle of Wight, and slew many men in Carisbrook.
A.D. 534. This year died Cerdic, the first king of the West-Saxons. Cynric his son succeeded to the government, and reigned afterwards twenty-six winters. And they gave to their two nephews, Stuff and Wihtgar, the whole of the Isle of Wight.
A.D. 538. This year the sun was eclipsed, fourteen days before the calends of March, from before morning until nine.
A.D. 540. This year the sun was eclipsed on the twelfth day before the calends of July; and the stars showed themselves full nigh half an hour over nine.
A.D. 544. This year died Wihtgar; and men buried him at Carisbrook.
A.D. 547. This year Ida began his reign; from whom first arose the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa, Esa of Ingwy, Ingwy of Angenwit, Angenwit of Alloc, Alloc of Bennoc, Bennoc of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden. Woden of Fritholaf, Fritholaf of Frithowulf, Frithowulf of Finn, Finn of Godolph, Godolph of Geata. Ida reigned twelve years. He built Bamburgh-Castle, which was first surrounded with a hedge, and afterwards with a wall.
A.D. 552. This year Cynric fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Sarum, and put them to flight. Cerdic was the father of Cynric, Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar, Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden. In this year Ethelbert, the son of Ermenric, was born, who on the two and thirtieth year of his reign received the rite of baptism, the first of all the kings in Britain.
A.D. 556. This year Cynric and Ceawlin fought with the Britons at Beranbury.
A.D. 560. This year Ceawlin undertook the government of the West-Saxons; and Ella, on the death of Ida, that of the Northumbrians; each of whom reigned thirty winters. Ella was the son of Iff, Iff of Usfrey, Usfrey of Wilgis, Wilgis of Westerfalcon, Westerfalcon of Seafowl, Seafowl of Sebbald, Sebbald of Sigeat, Sigeat of Swaddy, Swaddy of Seagirt, Seagar of Waddy, Waddy of Woden, Woden of Frithowulf. This year Ethelbert came to the kingdom of the Cantuarians, and held it fifty-three winters. In his days the holy Pope Gregory sent us baptism. That was in the two and thirtieth year of his reign. And Columba, the mass-priest, came to the Picts, and converted them to the belief of Christ. They are the dwellers by the northern moors. And their king gave him the island of Hii, consisting of five hides, as they say, where Columba built a monastary. There he was abbot two and thirty winters; and there he died, when he was seventy-seven years old. The place his successors yet have. The Southern Picts were long before baptized by Bishop Ninnia, who was taught at Rome. His church or monastery is at Hwiterne, hallowed in the name of St. Martin, where he resteth with many holy men. Now, therefore, shall there be ever in Hii an abbot, and no bishop; and to him shall be subject all the bishops of the Scots; because Columba was an abbot—no bishop.
((A.D. 565. This year Columba the presbyter came from the Scots among the Britons, to instruct the Picts, and he built a monastery in the island of Hii.))
A.D. 568. This year Ceawlin, and Cutha the brother of Ceawlin, fought with Ethelbert, and pursued him into Kent. And they slew two aldermen at Wimbledon, Oslake and Cnebba.
A.D. 571. This year Cuthulf fought with the Britons at Bedford, and took four towns, Lenbury, Aylesbury, Benson, and Ensham. And this same year he died.
A.D. 577. This year Cuthwin and Ceawlin fought with the Britons, and slew three kings, Commail, and Condida, and Farinmail, on the spot that is called Derham, and took from them three cities, Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath.
A.D. 583. This year Mauricius succeeded to the empire of the Romans.
A.D. 584. This year Ceawlin and Cutha fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Fretherne. There Cutha was slain. And Ceawlin took many towns, as well as immense booty and wealth. He then retreated to his own people.
A.D. 588. This year died King Ella; and Ethelric reigned after him five years.
A.D. 591. This year there was a great slaughter of Britons at Wanborough; Ceawlin was driven from his kingdom, and Ceolric reigned six years.
A.D. 592. This year Gregory succeeded to the papacy at Rome.
A.D. 593. This year died Ceawlin, and Cwichelm, and Cryda; and Ethelfrith succeeded to the kingdom of the Northumbrians. He was the son of Ethelric; Ethelric of Ida.
A.D. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain with very many monks, to preach the word of God to the English people.
A.D. 597. This year began Ceolwulf to reign over the West-Saxons; and he constantly fought and conquered, either with the Angles, or the Welsh, or the Picts, or the Scots. He was the son of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic, Cerdic of Elesa, Elesa of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar, Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, and Balday of Woden. This year came Augustine and his companions to England. (17)
A.D. 601. This year Pope Gregory sent the pall to Archbishop Augustine in Britain, with very many learned doctors to assist him; and Bishop Paulinus converted Edwin, king of the Northumbrians, to baptism.
A.D. 603. This year Aeden, king of the Scots, fought with the Dalreathians, and with Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, at Theakstone; where he lost almost all his army. Theobald also, brother of Ethelfrith, with his whole armament, was slain. None of the Scottish kings durst afterwards bring an army against this nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the army thither.
((A.D. 603. This year Aethan, King of the Scots, fought against the Dalreods and against Ethelfrith, king of the North-humbrians, at Daegsanstane [Dawston?], and they slew almost all his army. There Theodbald, Ethelfrith's brother, was slain with all his band. Since then no king of the Scots has dared to lead an army against this nation. Hering, the son of Hussa, led the enemy thither.))
A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. Mellitus he sent to preach baptism to the East-Saxons. Their king was called Seabert, the son of Ricola, Ethelbert's sister, whom Ethelbert placed there as king. Ethelbert also gave Mellitus the bishopric of London; and to Justus he gave the bishopric of Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury.
((A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. He sent Mellitus to preach baptism to the East-Saxons, whose king was called Sebert, son of Ricole, the sister of Ethelbert, and whom Ethelbert had there appointed king. And Ethelbert gave Mellitus a bishop's see in London, and to Justus he gave Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury.))
A.D. 606. This year died Gregory; about ten years since he sent us baptism. His father was called Gordianus, and his mother Silvia.
A.D. 607. This year Ceolwulf fought with the South-Saxons. And Ethelfrith led his army to Chester; where he slew an innumerable host of the Welsh; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustine, wherein he saith "If the Welsh will not have peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons." There were also slain two hundred priests, (18) who came thither to pray for the army of the Welsh. Their leader was called Brocmail, who with some fifty men escaped thence.
A.D. 611. This year Cynegils succeeded to the government in Wessex, and held it one and thirty winters. Cynegils was the son of Ceol, Ceol of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric.
A.D. 614. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at Bampton, and slew two thousand and forty-six of the Welsh.
A.D. 616. This year died Ethelbert, king of Kent, the first of English kings that received baptism: he was the son of Ermenric. He reigned fifty-six winters, and was succeeded by his son Eadbald. And in this same year had elapsed from the beginning of the world five thousand six hundred and eighteen winters. This Eadbald renounced his baptism, and lived in a heathen manner; so that he took to wife the relict of his father. Then Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent, meant to depart southward over sea, and abandon everything. But there came to him in the night the apostle Peter, and severely chastised him, (19) because he would so desert the flock of God. And he charged him to go to the king, and teach him the right belief. And he did so; and the king returned to the right belief. In this king's days the same Laurentius, who was archbishop in Kent after Augustine, departed this life on the second of February, and was buried near Augustine. The holy Augustine in his lifetime invested him bishop, to the end that the church of Christ, which yet was new in England, should at no time after his decease be without an archbishop. After him Mellitus, who was first Bishop of London, succeeded to the archbishopric. The people of London, where Mellitus was before, were then heathens: and within five winters of this time, during the reign of Eadbald, Mellitus died. To him succeeded Justus, who was Bishop of Rochester, whereto he consecrated Romanus bishop.
((A.D. 616. In that time Laurentius was archbishop, and for the sorrowfulness which he had on account of the king's unbelief he was minded to forsake this country entirely, and go over sea; but St. Peter the apostle scourged him sorely one night, because he wished thus to forsake the flock of God, and commanded him to teach boldly the true faith to the king; and he did so, and the king turned to the right (faith). In the days of this same king, Eadbald, this Laurentius died. The holy Augustine, while yet in sound health, ordained him bishop, in order that the community of Christ, which was yet new in England, should not after his decease be at any time without an archbishop. After him Mellitus, who had been previously Bishop of London, succeeded to the archbishopric. And within five years of the decease of Laurentius, while Eadbald still reigned, Mellitus departed to Christ.))
A.D. 617. This year was Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, slain by Redwald, king of the East-Angles; and Edwin, the son of Ella, having succeeded to the kingdom, subdued all Britain, except the men of Kent alone, and drove out the Ethelings, the sons of Ethelfrith, namely, Enfrid. Oswald, Oswy, Oslac, Oswood. Oslaf, and Offa.
A.D. 624. This year died Archbishop Mellitus.
A.D. 625. This year Paulinus was invested bishop of the Northumbrians, by Archbishop Justus, on the twelfth day before the calends of August.
((A.D. 625. This year Archbishop Justus consecrated Paulinus bishop of the North-humbrians.))
A.D. 626. This year came Eamer from Cwichelm, king of the West-Saxons, with a design to assassinate King Edwin; but he killed Lilla his thane, and Forthere, and wounded the king. The same night a daughter was born to Edwin, whose name was Eanfleda. Then promised the king to Paulinus, that he would devote his daughter to God, if he would procure at the hand of God, that he might destroy his enemy, who had sent the assassin to him. He then advanced against the West-Saxons with an army, felled on the spot five kings, and slew many of their men. This year Eanfleda, the daughter of King Edwin, was baptized, on the holy eve of Pentecost. And the king within twelve months was baptized, at Easter, with all his people. Easter was then on the twelfth of April. This was done at York, where he had ordered a church to be built of timber, which was hallowed in the name of St. Peter. There the king gave the bishopric to Paulinus; and there he afterwards ordered a larger church to be built of stone. This year Penda began to reign; and reigned thirty winters. He had seen fifty winters when he began to reign. Penda was the son of Wybba, Wybba of Creoda, Creoda of Cynewald, Cynewald of Cnebba, Cnebba of Icel, Icel of Eomer, Eomer of Angelthew, Angelthew of Offa, Offa of Wearmund, Wearmund of Whitley, Whitley of Woden.
A.D. 627. This year was King Edwin baptized at Easter, with all his people, by Paulinus, who also preached baptism in Lindsey, where the first person who believed was a certain rich man, of the name of Bleek, with all his people. At this time Honorius succeeded Boniface in the papacy, and sent hither to Paulinus the pall; and Archbishop Justus having departed this life on the tenth of November, Honorius was consecrated at Lincoln Archbishop of Canterbury by Paulinus; and Pope Honorius sent him the pall. And he sent an injunction to the Scots, that they should return to the right celebration of Easter.
((A.D. 627. This year, at Easter, Paulinus baptized Edwin king of the North-humbrians, with his people; and earlier within the same year, at Pentecost, he had baptized Eanfled, daughter of the same king.))
A.D. 628. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought with Penda at Cirencester, and afterwards entered into a treaty there.
A.D. 632. This year was Orpwald baptized.
A.D. 633. This year King Edwin was slain by Cadwalla and Penda, on Hatfield moor, on the fourteenth of October. He reigned seventeen years. His son Osfrid was also slain with him. After this Cadwalla and Penda went and ravaged all the land of the Northumbrians; which when Paulinus saw, he took Ethelburga, the relict of Edwin, and went by ship to Kent. Eadbald and Honorius received him very honourably, and gave him the bishopric of Rochester, where he continued to his death.
A.D. 634. This year Osric, whom Paulinus baptized, succeeded to the government of Deira. He was the son of Elfric, the uncle of Edwin. And to Bernicia succeeded Eanfrith, son of Ethelfrith. This year also Bishop Birinus first preached baptism to the West-Saxons, under King Cynegils. The said Birinus went thither by the command of Pope Honorius; and he was bishop there to the end of his life. Oswald also this year succeeded to the government of the Northumbrians, and reigned nine winters. The ninth year was assigned to him on account of the heathenism in which those lived who reigned that one year betwixt him and Edwin.
A.D. 635. This year King Cynegils was baptized by Bishop Birinus at Dorchester; and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was his sponsor.
A.D. 636. This year King Cwichelm was baptized at Dorchester, and died the same year. Bishop Felix also preached to the East-Angles the belief of Christ.
A.D. 639. This year Birinus baptized King Cuthred at Dorchester, and received him as his son.
A.D. 640. This year died Eadbald, King of Kent, after a reign of twenty-five winters. He had two sons, Ermenred and Erkenbert; and Erkenbert reigned there after his father. He overturned all the idols in the kingdom, and first of English kings appointed a fast before Easter. His daughter was called Ercongota—holy damsel of an illustrious sire! whose mother was Sexburga, the daughter of Anna, king of the East-Angles. Ermenred also begat two sons, who were afterwards martyred by Thunnor.
A.D. 642. This year Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by Penda, king of the Southumbrians, at Mirfield, on the fifth day of August; and his body was buried at Bardney. His holiness and miracles were afterwards displayed on manifold occasions throughout this island; and his hands remain still uncorrupted at Barnburgh. The same year in which Oswald was slain, Oswy his brother succeeded to the government of the Northumbrians, and reigned two less than thirty years.
A.D. 643. This year Kenwal succeeded to the kingdom of the West-Saxons, and held it one and thirty winters. This Kenwal ordered the old (20) church at Winchester to be built in the name of St. Peter. He was the son of Cynegils.
A.D. 644. This year died at Rochester, on the tenth of October, Paulinus, who was first Archbishop at York, and afterwards at Rochester. He was bishop nineteen winters, two months, and one and twenty days. This year the son of Oswy's uncle (Oswin), the son of Osric, assumed the government of Deira, and reigned seven winters.
A.D. 645. This year King Kenwal was driven from his dominion by King Penda.
A.D. 646. This year King Kenwal was baptized.
A.D. 648. This year Kenwal gave his relation Cuthred three thousand hides of land by Ashdown. Cuthred was the son of Cwichelm, Cwichelm of Cynegils.
A.D. 650. This year Egelbert, from Gaul, after Birinus the Romish bishop, obtained the bishopric of the West-Saxons.
((A.D. 650. This year Birinus the bishop died, and Agilbert the Frenchman was ordained.))
A.D. 651. This year King Oswin was slain, on the twentieth day of August; and within twelve nights afterwards died Bishop Aidan, on the thirty-first of August.
A.D. 652. This year Kenwal fought at Bradford by the Avon.
A.D. 653. This year, the Middle-Angles under alderman Peada received the right belief.
A.D. 654. This year King Anna was slain, and Botolph began to build that minster at Icanhoe. This year also died Archbishop Honorius, on the thirtieth of September.
A.D. 655. This year Penda was slain at Wingfield, and thirty royal personages with him, some of whom were kings. One of them was Ethelhere, brother of Anna, king of the East-Angles. The Mercians after this became Christians. From the beginning of the world had now elapsed five thousand eight hundred and fifty winters, when Peada, the son of Penda, assumed the government of the Mercians. In his time came together himself and Oswy, brother of King Oswald, and said, that they would rear a minster to the glory of Christ, and the honour of St. Peter. And they did so, and gave it the name of Medhamsted; because there is a well there, called Meadswell. And they began the groundwall, and wrought thereon; after which they committed the work to a monk, whose name was Saxulf. He was very much the friend of God, and him also loved all people. He was nobly born in the world, and rich: he is now much richer with Christ. But King Peada reigned no while; for he was betrayed by his own queen, in Easter-tide. This year Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester, consecrated Deus-dedit to Canterbury, on the twenty-sixth day of March.
A.D. 656. This year was Peada slain; and Wulfhere, son of Penda, succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians. In his time waxed the abbey of Medhamsted very rich, which his brother had begun. The king loved it much, for the love of his brother Peada, and for the love of his wed-brother Oswy, and for the love of Saxulf the abbot. He said, therefore, that he would dignify and honour it by the counsel of his brothers, Ethelred and Merwal; and by the counsel of his sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha; and by the counsel of the archbishop, who was called Deus-dedit; and by the counsel of all his peers, learned and lewd, that in his kingdom were. And he so did. Then sent the king after the abbot, that he should immediately come to him. And he so did. Then said the king to the abbot: "Beloved Saxulf, I have sent after thee for the good of my soul; and I will plainly tell thee for why. My brother Peada and my beloved friend Oswy began a minster, for the love of Christ and St. Peter: but my brother, as Christ willed, is departed from this life; I will therefore intreat thee, beloved friend, that they earnestly proceed on their work; and I will find thee thereto gold and silver, land and possessions, and all that thereto behoveth." Then went the abbot home, and began to work. So he sped, as Christ permitted him; so that in a few years was that minster ready. Then, when the king heard say that, he was very glad; and bade men send through all the nation, after all his thanes; after the archbishop, and after bishops: and after his earls; and after all those that loved God; that they should come to him. And he fixed the day when men should hallow the minster. And when they were hallowing the minster, there was the king, Wulfere, and his brother Ethelred, and his sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha. And the minster was hallowed by Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury; and the Bishop of Rochester, Ithamar; and the Bishop of London, who was called Wina; and the Bishop of the Mercians, whose name was Jeruman; and Bishop Tuda. And there was Wilfrid, priest, that after was bishop; and there were all his thanes that were in his kingdom. When the minster was hallowed, in the name of St. Peter, and St. Paul, and St. Andrew, then stood up the king before all his thanes, and said with a loud voice: "Thanks be to the high almighty God for this worship that here is done; and I will this day glorify Christ and St. Peter, and I will that you all confirm my words.—I Wulfere give to-day to St. Peter, and the Abbot Saxulf, and the monks of the minster, these lands, and these waters, and meres, and fens, and weirs, and all the lands that thereabout lye, that are of my kingdom, freely, so that no man have there any ingress, but the abbot and the monks. This is the gift. From Medhamsted to Northborough; and so to the place that is called Foleys; and so all the fen, right to Ashdike; and from Ashdike to the place called Fethermouth; and so in a right line ten miles long to Ugdike; and so to Ragwell; and from Ragwell five miles to the main river that goeth to Elm and to Wisbeach; and so about three miles to Trokenholt; and from Trokenholt right through all the fen to Derworth; that is twenty miles long; and so to Great Cross; and from Great Cross through a clear water called Bradney; and thence six miles to Paxlade; and so forth through all the meres and fens that lye toward Huntingdon-port; and the meres and lakes Shelfermere and Wittlesey mere, and all the others that thereabout lye; with land and with houses that are on the east side of Shelfermere; thence all the fens to Medhamsted; from Medhamsted all to Welmsford; from Welmsford to Clive; thence to Easton; from Easton to Stamford; from Stamford as the water runneth to the aforesaid Northborough."—These are the lands and the fens that the king gave unto St. Peter's minster.—Then quoth the king: "It is little—this gift— but I will that they hold it so royally and so freely, that there be taken there from neither gild nor gable, but for the monks alone. Thus I will free this minster; that it be not subject except to Rome alone; and hither I will that we seek St. Peter, all that to Rome cannot go." During these words the abbot desired that he would gant him his request. And the king granted it. "I have here (said he) some good monks that would lead their life in retirement, if they wist where. Now here is an island, that is called Ankerig; and I will request, that we may there build a minster to the honour of St. Mary; that they may dwell there who will lead their lives in peace and tranquillity." Then answered the king, and quoth thus: "Beloved Saxulf, not that only which thou desirest, but all things that I know thou desirest in our Lord's behalf, so I approve, and grant. And I bid thee, brother Ethelred, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, for the release of your souls, that you be witnesses, and that you subscribe it with your fingers. And I pray all that come after me, be they my sons, be they my brethren, or kings that come after me, that our gift may stand; as they would be partakers of the life everlasting, and as they would avoid everlasting punishment. Whoso lesseneth our gift, or the gift of other good men, may the heavenly porter lessen him in the kingdom of heaven; and whoso advanceth it, may the heavenly porter advance him in the kingdom of heaven." These are the witnesses that were there, and that subscribed it with their fingers on the cross of Christ, and confirmed it with their tongues. That was, first the king, Wulfere, who confirmed it first with his word, and afterwards wrote with his finger on the cross of Christ, saying thus: "I Wulfere, king, in the presence of kings, and of earls, and of captains, and of thanes, the witnesses of my gift, before the Archbishop Deus-dedit, I confirm it with the cross of Christ." ()—"And I Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, the friend of this minster, and o[oe] the Abbot Saxulf, commend it with the cross of Christ." ()—"And I Sighere, king, ratify it with the cross of Christ." ()—"And I Sibbi, king, subscribe it with the cross of Christ." ()—"And I Ethelred, the king's brother, granted the same with the cross of Christ." ()—"And we, the king's sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, approve it."—"And I Archbishop of Canterbury, Deus-dedit, ratify it."—Then confirmed it all the others that were there with the cross of Christ (): namely, Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester; Wina, Bishop of London; Jeruman, Bishop of the Mercians; and Tuda, bishop; and Wilfrid, priest, who was afterwards bishop; and Eoppa, priest, whom the king, Wulfere, sent to preach christianity in the Isle of Wight; and Saxulf, abbot; and Immine, alderman, and Edbert, alderman, and Herefrith, alderman, and Wilbert, alderman, and Abo, alderman; Ethelbald, Brord, Wilbert, Elmund, Frethegis. These, and many others that were there, the king's most loyal subjects, confirmed it all. This charter was written after our Lord's Nativity 664—the seventh year of King Wulfere—the ninth year of Archbishop Deus-dedir. Then they laid God's curse, and the curse of all saints, and all christian folks, on whosoever undid anything that there was done. "So be it," saith all. "Amen."—When this thing was done, then sent the king to Rome to the Pope Vitalianus that then was, and desired, that he would ratify with his writ and with his blessing, all this aforesaid thing. And the pope then sent his writ, thus saying: "I Vitalianus, pope, grant thee, King Wulfere, and Deus-dedit, archbishop, and Abbot Saxulf, all the things that you desire. And I forbid, that any king, or any man, have any ingress, but the abbot alone; nor shall he be Subject to any man, except the Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If any one breaketh anything of this, St. Peter with his sword destroy him. Whosoever holdeth it, St. Peter with heaven's key undo him the kingdom of heaven."—Thus was the minster of Medhamsted begun, that was afterwards called Peter-borough. Afterwards came another archbishop to Canterbury, who was called Theodorus; a very good man and wise; and held his synod with his bishops and with his clerk. There was Wilfrid, bishop of the Mercians, deprived of his bishopric; and Saxulf, abbot, was there chosen bishop; and Cuthbald, monk of the same minster, was chosen abbot. This synod was holden after our Lord's Nativity six hundred and seventy-three winters.
A.D. 658. This year Kenwal fought with the Welsh at Pen, and pursued them to the Parret. This battle was fought after his return from East-Anglia, where he was three years in exile. Penda had driven him thither and deprived him of his kingdom, because he had discarded his sister.
A.D. 660. This year Bishop Egelbert departed from Kenwal; and Wina held the bishopric three years. And Egbert accepted the bishopric of Paris, in Gaul, by the Seine.
A.D. 661. This year, at Easter, Kenwal fought at Pontesbury; and Wulfere, the son of Penda, pursued him as far as Ashdown. Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm, and King Kenbert, died in one year. Into the Isle of Wight also Wulfere, the son of Penda, penetrated, and transferred the inhabitants to Ethelwald, king of the South-Saxons, because Wulfere adopted him in baptism. And Eoppa, a mass-priest, by command of Wilfrid and King Wulfere, was the first of men who brought baptism to the people of the Isle of Wight.
A.D. 664. This year the sun was eclipsed, on the eleventh of May; and Erkenbert, King of Kent, having died, Egbert his son succeeded to the kingdom. Colman with his companions this year returned to his own country. This same year there was a great plague in the island Britain, in which died Bishop Tuda, who was buried at Wayleigh—Chad and Wilferth were consecrated—And Archbishop Deus-dedit died.
A.D. 667. This year Oswy and Egbert sent Wighard, a priest, to Rome, that he might be consecrated there Archbishop of Canterbury; but he died as soon as he came thither.
((A.D. 667. This year Wighard went to Rome, even as King Oswy, and Egbert had sent him.))
A.D. 668. This year Theodore was consecrated archbishop, and sent into Britain.
A.D. 669. This year King Egbert gave to Bass, a mass-priest, Reculver—to build a minster upon.
A.D. 670. This year died Oswy, King of Northumberland, on the fifteenth day before the calends of March; and Egferth his son reigned after him. Lothere, the nephew of Bishop Egelbert, succeeded to the bishopric over the land of the West-Saxons, and held it seven years. He was consecrated by Archbishop Theodore. Oswy was the son of Ethelfrith, Ethelfrith of Ethelric, Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa.
A.D. 671. This year happened that great destruction among the fowls.
A.D. 672. This year died King Cenwal; and Sexburga his queen held the government one year after him.
A.D. 673. This year died Egbert, King of Kent; and the same year there was a synod at Hertford; and St. Etheldritha began that monastery at Ely.
A.D. 674. This year Escwin succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex. He was the son of Cenfus, Cenfus of Cenferth, Cenferth of Cuthgils, Cuthgils of Ceolwulf, Ceolwulf of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic.
A.D. 675. This year Wulfere, the son of Penda, and Escwin, the son of Cenfus, fought at Bedwin. The same year died Wulfere, and Ethelred succeeded to the government. In his time sent he to Rome Bishop Wilfrid to the pope that then was, called Agatho, and told him by word and by letter, how his brothers Peada and Wulfere, and the Abbot Saxulf, had wrought a minster, called Medhamsted; and that they had freed it, against king and against bishop, from every service; and he besought him that he would confirm it with his writ and with his blessing. And the pope sent then his writ to England, thus saying: "I Agatho, Pope of Rome, greet well the worthy Ethelred, king of the Mercians, and the Archbishop Theodorus of Canterbury, and Saxulf, the bishop of the Mercians, who before was abbot, and all the abbots that are in England; God's greeting and my blessing. I have heard the petition of King Ethelred, and of the Archbishop Theodorus, and of the Bishop Saxulf, and of the Abbot Cuthbald; and I will it, that it in all wise be as you have spoken it. And I ordain, in behalf of God, and of St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every hooded head, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man whatever, have any claim, or gable, or gild, or levy, or take any service of any kind, from the abbey of Medhamsted. I command also, that no shire-bishop be so bold as to hold an ordination or consecration within this abbacy, except the abbot intreat him, nor have there any claim to proxies, or synodals, or anything whatever of any kind. And I will, that the abbot be holden for legate of Rome over all that island; and whatever abbot is there chosen by the monks that he be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I will and decree, that, whatever man may have made a vow to go to Rome, and cannot perform it, either from infirmity, or for his lord's need, or from poverty, or from any other necessity of any kind whatever, whereby he cannot come thither, be he of England, or of whatever other island he be, he may come to that minster of Medhamsted, and have the same forgiveness of Christ and St. Peter, and of the abbot, and of the monks, that he should have if he went to Rome. Now bid I thee, brother Theodorus, that thou let it be proclaimed through all England, that a synod be gathered, and this writ be read and observed. Also I tell thee, Bishop Saxulf, that, as thou desirest it, that the minster be free, so I forbid thee, and all the bishops that after thee come, from Christ and from all his saints, that ye have no demand from that minster, except so much as the abbot will. Now will I say in a word, that, whoso holdeth this writ and this decree, then be he ever dwelling with God Almighty in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso breaketh it, then be he excommunicated, and thrust down with Judas, and with all the devils in hell, except he come to repentance. Amen!" This writ sent the Pope Agatho, and a hundred and twenty-five bishops, by Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, to England. This was done after our Lord's Nativity 680, the sixth year of King Ethelred. Then the king commanded the Archbishop Theodorus, that he should appoint a general Wittenmoot at the place called Hatfield. When they were there collected, then he allowed the letter to be read that the pope sent thither; and all ratified and confirmed it. Then said the king: "All things that my brother Peada, and my brother Wulfere, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, gave and granted to St. Peter and the abbot, these I will may stand; and I will in my day increase it, for their souls and for my soul. Now give I St. Peter to-day into his minster, Medhamsted, these lands, and all that thereto lyeth; that is, Bredon, Repings, Cadney, Swineshead, Hanbury, Lodeshall, Scuffanhall, Cosford, Stratford, Wattleburn, Lushgard, Ethelhun-island, Bardney. These lands I give St. Peter just as freely as I possessed them myself; and so, that none of my successors take anything therefrom. Whoso doeth it, have he the curse of the Pope of Rome, and the curse of all bishops, and of all those that are witnesses here. And this I confirm with the token of Christ." (+) "I Theodorus, Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness to this charter of Medhamsted; and I ratify it with my hand, and I excommunicate all that break anything thereof; and I bless all that hold it." (+) "I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, am witness to this charter; and I ratify this same curse." (+) "I Saxulf, who was first abbot, and now am bishop, I give my curse, and that of all my successors, to those who break this."—"I Ostritha, Ethelred's queen, confirm it."—"I Adrian, legate, ratify it."—"I Putta, Bishop of Rochester, subscribe it."—"I Waldhere, Bishop of London, confirm it."—"I Cuthbald, abbot, ratify it; so that, whoso breaketh it, have he the cursing of all bishops and of all christian folk. Amen."
A.D. 676. This year, in which Hedda succeeded to his bishopric, Escwin died; and Centwin obtained the government of the West-Saxons. Centwin was the son of Cynegils, Cynegils of Ceolwulf. Ethelred, king of the Mercians, in the meantime, overran the land of Kent.
A.D. 678. This year appeared the comet-star in August, and shone every morning, during three months, like a sunbeam. Bishop Wilfrid being driven from his bishopric by King Everth, two bishops were consecrated in his stead, Bosa over the Deirians, and Eata over the Bernicians. About the same time also Eadhed was consecrated bishop over the people of Lindsey, being the first in that division.
A.D. 679. This year Elwin was slain, by the river Trent, on the spot where Everth and Ethelred fought. This year also died St. Etheldritha; and the monastery of Coldingiham was destroyed by fire from heaven.
A.D. 680. This year Archbishop Theodore appointed a synod at Hatfield; because he was desirous of rectifying the belief of Christ; and the same year died Hilda, Abbess of Whitby.
A.D. 681. This year Trumbert was consecrated Bishop of Hexham, and Trumwin bishop of the Picts; for they were at that time subject to this country. This year also Centwin pursued the Britons to the sea.
A.D. 684. This year Everth sent an army against the Scots, under the command of his alderman, Bright, who lamentably plundered and burned the churches of God.
A.D. 685. This year King Everth commanded Cuthbert to be consecrated a bishop; and Archbishop Theodore, on the first day of Easter, consecrated him at York Bishop of Hexham; for Trumbert had been deprived of that see. The same year Everth was slain by the north sea, and a large army with him, on the thirteenth day before the calends of June. He continued king fifteen winters; and his brother Elfrith succeeded him in the government. Everth was the son of Oswy. Oswy of Ethelferth, Ethelferth of Ethelric, Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa. About this time Ceadwall began to struggle for a kingdom. Ceadwall was the son of Kenbert, Kenbert of Chad, Chad of Cutha, Cutha of Ceawlin, Ceawlin of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic. Mull, who was afterwards consigned to the flames in Kent, was the brother of Ceadwall. The same year died Lothhere, King of Kent; and John was consecrated Bishop of Hexham, where he remained till Wilferth was restored, when John was translated to York on the death of Bishop Bosa. Wilferth his priest was afterwards consecrated Bishop of York, and John retired to his monastery (21) in the woods of Delta. This year there was in Britain a bloody rain, and milk and butter were turned to blood.