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Now to our matter asain.


surnamed the unready.^

King Edward thus being murdered, as is aforesaid, the crown fell A.D.
next to Egelred, his younger brother, and son to King Edgar by the 978.
aforesaid queen Elfrida, as we have declared. This Egelred had a AppTudtx
long reign given by God, which endured thirty and eight years, but
was very unfortunate and full of great miseries ; and he himself, by
the histories, seemeth to have been a prince not of the greatest courage
to govern a commonwealth. Our English historians, writing of him,
report of his reign, that it was ungracious in the beginning, wretched
in the middle, and hateful in the latter end. Of this Egelred we read,
that when Dunstan the archbishop should christen him, as he did hold
him over the font, something there happened that pleased not Dunstan,
whereupon he sware, " By the mother of Christ, he will be a prince
untoward and cowardly."* I find in William of Malmesbury,^ that this
Egelred being of the age of ten years, when he heard that his brother
Edward was slain, made such sorrow and weeping for him, that his
mother, falling therewith in a rage, took wax candles, having nothing else
at hand, wherewith she scourged him so sorely (well nigh till he swooned),

(1) Ex Chronico Martini. (2) Mojjuntinensis, Treverensis, Coloniensis, Apj>en,iix,

* Quilibet imperii fit caiicellarius liorum.

Kst t'alatiims dapifex, dux portitor eiisis,
Marchio praepositus camerie, pinccrna Bolicmus. — Ibid.
[Appendix to Marianus Scotus. Ed. Has. 15.'>9, col. 147.— Ed.]

(3) Edition 1.5fi3, p. 10. Ed. I5S3, p. IfiS. Ed. 159G, p. H4. Ed. 1684, vol. i. p. 179.— Ed.
{4) " Per iaiictara Mariam. iste ignavus horuoeril." — Chrcn. de Crowlaiid. 15) Lib. ii. Ue Regib.


^seired. i^^^t^ afterwards he could never abide any wax candles to burn before
A. D. ]-|jjj^_ After this, about a.d. 978, the day of his coronation having

1- been appointed by the queen-mother and the nobles, Dunstan arch-

naMon°of" bishop of Canterbury (who first refused so to do), and Oswald arcli-
Egeired, bishop of York, were enforced to crown the king, which they did at
ApruY4'. Kingston. In doing whereof, the report of stories goeth that Dunstan
The pro- Said thus, prophcsving unto the king, — " That forasmuch as he came
Dunstan, to the kingdom by the death of his brother, and through the conspiracy
^sh™""'^ of the wicked conspirators, and other Englishmen, they should not be
stories without blood-shcdding and sword, till there came a people of an
unknown tongue, which should bring them into thraldom ; neither
should that trespass be cleansed, without long vengeance."'

Not long after the coronation of this king, a cloud was seen through-
out the land, which appeared the one half like blood, and the other half
like fine, and changed afterwards into sundry colours, and vanished at
The last in the morning. Shortly after the appearance of this cloud, in the
umir' third year of his reign, the Danes arriving in sundry places of the
England, land, first spoiled Southampton, either slaying the inhabitants, or lead-
ing them away captive. From thence they went to the Isle of Thanet;
then they invaded Chester,^ from whence they proceeded to Cornwall
and Devonshire, and so to Sussex, where in those coasts they did much
harm, and then -withdrew to their ships. Roger Hoveden writing
hereof, ^ saith that London at the same time, or, as Fabian saith, a
London great part of London, was consumed with fire. About this time
ed"wuh happened a variance between the aforesaid Egelred and the bishop
wJare of Rochester, insomuch that he made war against him, and besieged
a-ainst the city; and, notwithstanding Dunstan required the king, sending him
ofKo- °^ admonishment, to give over for the sake of St. Andrew, yet continued
Chester. |^g |^jg siege, till the bishop offered him an hundred pounds of gold,
A.D. 990. which he received, and so departed. The Danes, seeing the discord
that then was in the realm, and especially the hatred of the subjects
against the kmg, rose again, and did great harm in divers places Oi
England ; insomuch that the king was glad to grant them great sums
of money, for peace to be had. For the assm-ance of this peace, Ana-
lafFe, captain of the Danes, became a christian man, and so returned
home to his country, and did no more harm. Besides these miseries
before-recited, a sore sickness of the bloody-flux and hot fevers fell
among the people, whereof many died, witb a like murrain, also, among
the beasts. Moreovei-, for lack of justice, many thieves, rioters, and
bribers, were in the land, Avith much misery and mischief.

About the eleventh year (some say the ninth) of this king's reign

Dunstan. died Duustan ; after whom succeeded Ethelgar, or, as Jornalensis

A.D.'gss'. vvriteth, Stilgar. After hun Elfric, as afl&rmeth Malmesbury ;* but as

Appendix. Polydore saith, Siric. After him Elfric came, but Siric according

to Malmesbury, while Polydore saith, Aluric ; then Elphege.

About the same time, a.d. 995, Aldunus, a bishop, translated the

(1) In the Chronicles of Crowland I find these words : — " Quoniam ascendisti ad thronum tuum,
per mortem fratris tui, quern occidit mater tua, propterea audi verbum Domini : hoc dicit Dominus,
Hon deficiet gladius de domo tua, scEviens in te omnibus diebus vitcB tua?, et interficiens de semine
tuo, et de gente tua, usque dum regnum tuum transferatur in regnum alienum : cujus ritum et
linguam gens tua non novit, nee expiabitur nisi longa vindicta, et multa sanguinis etfusione pec-
catum matris tua;, et peccatum virorum pessimorura, qui consenserunt consilio ejus nequam, ut
mitterent manum in Christum Domini, ad effundendum saiiguinem innocentem."

(2) " Caerleon," see p. 5. note (3).— Ed. (3) Hoveden, l)b. Coutinuationum.
(4) Lib. i. de Pontif.


body of St. Cuthbcrt, wliicli first had been in a nortliern island, and Byeh>-d.
then at Chester-le-street, from Chester to Dunhehn, or Durham ; » j)
^'hereupon the bishop's see of Durliam first began.* 991.

Not long after the deatli of Dunstan, the Danes again entered The^<i'e~
England, in many and sundry places of the land, in such sort, that "'' '^"'"■
the king had to seek to which coast he should go first, to withstand his gins,
enemies ; and, in conclusion, for the avoiding of more harm, he was Appendix.
compelled to appease them with gi-eat sums of money. But when that
money was spent, they fell anew to robbmg of the people, and to
assailing the land in clivers places, not only about the country of
Northumberland, but they at last besieged the city of London. Being
repulsed, however, by the manhood of the Londoners, they strayed to London
other countries adjoining, as to Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire, jj'^sieged
burning and killing wheresoever they went, so that for lack of a good Danes,
head or governor, many things in the land perished; for the king
gave himself up to gross vices, and also to the polling of his subjects,
and, disinheriting men of their possessions, caused them to redeem the
same again with great sums of money ; for he paid great tribute to Great trj
the Danes yearly, which was called Dan egilt, which tribute so increased, ed.'DaiicI
that from the first tribute of 10,000/., it was brought at last, in |''^ ggj
five or six years, to 40,000/., which yearly, till the coming of St. •s^;-^.^
Edward, and after, was levied of the subjects of this land.

To this sorrow, moreover, were joined hunger and penury among
the commons, insomuch that every one of them was constrained to
pluck and steal from others, so that, what through the pillage of the
Danes, and what by inward thieves and bribers, this land was brought
into great affliction. Albeit the greatest cause of this affliction, as
to me appeareth, is not so much to be infiputed to the king, as to the xue .sor-
dissention among the lords themselves, who then did not agree one amlcdon
with another ; but when they assembled in consultation together, of^t^e na-
either they drew divers ways, or if any thing was agreed, upon any
matter of peace between the parties, it was soon broken ; or else, if any ^,3,. jj^.
good thing were devised for the prejudice of the enemy, anon the l;""^,,^''"'
Danes were warned thereof by some of the same counsel. Of these the no-
the-chief doers were Edric, duke of Mercia, and Alfrike, the admiral
or captain of the ships, who betrayed the king's navy to the Danes ;
wherefore the king apprehended Alfegar, son of the said Alfrike, and
put out his eyes, as did he afterwards to the two sons of duke Edric.

The Danes thus prevailing more and more over the English, gvevf Tmc pride
to such pride and presumption, that when they, by strength, caused Dane's to-
the husbandiuen to ear and sow the land, and to do all otli-cr vile labour '^^J^^
belonging to the house, they would sit at home holding the wife at
their pleasiu-e, with daughter and servant : and when the husbandman
came home, he could scarcely have of his own, as his servants had; so
that the Dane had all at his will and fill, faring of the best, when the
owner scantly had his fill of the worst. Thus the common people
being of them oppressed, were in such fear and dread, that not only
they were constrained to suffer them in their doings, but also glad to
please them, and called every one of them in the house where they
liad rule, Lord-Dane, which word, afterwards, in process of time, when r.orrt.

' ' ' , , IJane.

(1) On t)ie 27th May, 1827, the tomh of St. Cuthbert, in Durham Cathedral, was opened, and
tlie coffin and skeleton found within. Bee Account of St. Cuthbert, p. 180. liy James llaine, iM.A.
Durliara. U.2S.— Ed.



of the
duke of

slain in
town of

Egcircd. the Danes were voided, was, for despite of the Danes, turned bv
A. D. the Englisliinen to a name of opprobrituii, so that when one En-
1004. glishman would rebuke another, he would for the more part call
The first liiro " Lurdane."

tetiJ^n ^^*^ ^^^ hitherto, through the assistance of Christ, we have brought
the Nor- this liistor}' down to the year of our Lord 1000.^ During the continu-
Engiish ance of these great miseries upon this English nation, the land was
brought into great ruin by the grievous tributes of the Danes, and also
by sustaining manifold \'illanies and injuries, as well as other oppres-
sions within the realm. In this year Egelred, through the counsel of
certain his familiars about him, in the one and twentieth year of his
reign, began a matter, which was the occasion, either given by the one,
or taken by the other, of a new plague to ensue upon the Saxons, who
had formerly driven out the Britons ; which was, by joining with the
Normans in marriage. For the king, this year, for the more strength,
as he thought, both of him and the realm, married Emma, the daughter
of Richard, duke of Normandy, which Richard was the third duke
of the Normans, and the first of that name. By reason of this
marriage. King Egelred was not a little elated ; and, by presumption
thereof, sent secTet and strict commissions to the rulers of every town
in England, that upon St. Brice''s day, at an hour appointed, the Danes
England, should be Suddenly slain: and so it was performed, which turned after

Nov. 13th, . ill

A.D.i(K)2. to more trouble.

As soon as tidings came into Denmark of the murder of those Danes,
Swanus, king of Denmark, with a great host and na\'y, landed in
Cornwall ; where, by treason of a Norman, named Hugh, who,^ by
favour of Queen Emma, was made earl of Devonshire, the said Swanus
took Exeter, and beat down the walls. From thence proceeding
further into the land, they came to Wilton and Sherborne, where
they cruelly spoiled the country, and slew the people. But, anon,
Swanus hearing that the king was coming to him with the power of his
land, took his ships and fetched his course about to Norfolk ; where,
after much wasting of that country, and spoiling the city of Norwich,
and burning the town of Thetford, and destroying the country there-
about, at length duke Uskatel met him and beat him, and slew many
of the Danes. AVherefore Swanus for that year returned to Denmark,
and there made great provision to re-enter the land again the next
year following ; and so he did, landing at Sandwich about the five and

A.D.1003. twentieth year of the reign of King Egelred, and spoiled that countrv.
And as soon as he heard of anv host of Enwlislimen coming toward

..." .

him, he took shipping again, so that when the king's army sought to

meet him on one coast, he would suddenly land on another, and when

the king p^o^•ided to meet with him upon the sea, either they would

feign to flee, or else they would with gifts blind the admiral of the king's

Trihute navy. And thus wearied they the Englishmen, and in conclusion

the Danes brought them into extreme and unspeakable misery, insomuch that the

,000/. Ymrr was fain to make peace ■with them, and to give to King Swanus

30,000/., after which peace thus made Swanus returned again to


This peace continued not long, for the year next following, King
Egelred made Edric, above mentioned, duke of Mercia, who was subtle

(1) Henry of Huntingdon, lib. vi.

Edric, or
duke of


of wit, glosing and eloquent of speech, untrusty, and false to the Idng EgeWed.
and tlie realm ; and soon after this, one Turkil, a prince of the Danes, a.D
landing in Kent with much people, did such harm there that the lois!
Kentishmen were fain to make peace with great gifts, on which they .^,0 er "
departed. But this persecution from the Danes, in one country or other sedition
in England, never ceased, nor did the king ever give them any notable Kvi)"'*"''
battle ; for when he was disposed to give them battle, this Edric would aj;"^"""'
always counsel him to the contrary, so that the Danes ever s))oiled and •^inff, "^
robbed, and waxed rich, and the Englishmen ever poor and bare. u doth""

After this, Swanus being in Denmark, and hearing of the increase The re-
of his people in England, brake his covenants before made, and with swamfs
a great army and navy, in most defensible manner appointed, landing j^'^'^ '^"s-
in Northmnberland, proclaimed himself to be king of this land;
where, when after much vexation he had subdued the people, and
caused the earl with the rulers of the country to swear to him fealty,
he passed over the river Trent to Gainsborough and to Northwutling-
strcet, and, subduing the people there, forced them to give him host-
ages; these he committed with his navy unto Canute, his son, to
keep, while he went further inland, and so, with a great host, came to
Mercia, killing and slaying. He then took by strength Winchester
and Oxford, and did there what he liked. This done, he came toward
London, and hearing the king was there, passed by the river Thames,
and came into Kent, and there besieged Canterbury, where he was Canter-
resisted, the space of twenty days. At length, by the treason of a fn'fP'be'*^"
deacon, called Almaric, whom the bishop had preserved from death t'l^jfj'jf^j',^
before, lflSi*won it, took the goods of the people, fired the city, and bunu.
tithed the monks of St. Augustine's abbey ; that is to say, they slew a q-\k\
nine by cruel tonnent, and the tenth they kept alive as fur their slave. "^""1"
They slew there of religious men to the number of 900 persons; of ^anes-
other men, with women and children, they slew above 8,000. And,
finally, when they had kept the bishop Elphege in strait prison the
space of seven months, because he would not condescend to give them
3,000/., after many villanies done unto him, they brought him to
Greenwich, and there stoned him to death.

King Egelred, in the mean time, fearing the end of this persecu-
tion, sent his wife Emma, with his two sons, Alfred and Edward, to
the dulce of Normandy, with whom also he sent the bishop of London.
The Danes proceeded still in their fiiry and rage, and when they had
won a great part of West Saxony, they returned again to London,
whereof the Londoners hearing, sent unto them certain great gifts
and pledges. At last the king, about the five and thirtieth year of" his a.d.hhs.
reign, was cliascd unto the Tsle of Wight, and, with a secret com])any, ,^;fj';[!,';'',„
spent there a great part of the winter ; and finally, without cattle or '^I^.V J,^!*^ "*■
comfort, sailed into Normandy, to his wife. Swanus being informed from
thereof, inflamed with pride, reared exceeding impositions upon the ^^'J^Z-
people, and, among others, required a great sum of money of St. mandy.
Edmund's lands, which the people there, claiming to be free
from king's tributes, refused to pay. For this, Swanus entered the
ten-itory of St. Edmund, and wasted and spoiled the country, despis-
ing the' holy mart)T, and menacing also the place of his sepulture. J^^^^'"^-
Wherefore the men of that country, fearing his tyranny, fell to prayer dinstian
and fasting, so that shortly after Swanus died suddenly, crying and

men i


ngeired. yelHiig amoiig his knights. Some say that he was stricken with
A. D. the sword of St. Edmund, whereof he died the third day after ; in
1016. fear whereof Canute, his son, who ruled as king after his father,
Death oT granted them the freedom of all their liberties, and, moreover, ditched
l^aniis. the land of the said martyr with a deep ditch, and granted to the inha-
A.D.1014. bitants thereof gi'eat freedoms, quitting them from all tax or tribute.
The He afterwards builded a church over the place of his sepulture, and
st."Ed- ordained there a house of monks, and endowed them with rich posses-
^y "" sions. And after that time it was the usage of the kings of England,
builded. -when they were crowned, to send their crowns for an offering to St.
Edmund's shrine, and to redeem the same again, afterwards, with a
suitable price.
Egeired When King Egelred heard of the death of Swanus, he made pro-
to Eng- vision and returned to England, for whose sudden coming Canute,
(fanute ^^iug unprovidcd, fled to Sandwich, and there, cutting off the noses
cutteth and hands of the hostages whom his father had left with him, sailed
noses and into Denmark, who the next year returned again with a great navy,
hands of ^^^^ landed in the south country : wherefore the eldest son of King
pledges. Egelred, called Edmund Ironside, made provision with the aid of
Appendix. Edric, duke of Mercia, to meet him. But Ecbic, feigning himself
sick, came not, but deceived him ; for, as it was after proved, Edric
Taketh had promised his allegiance to Canute. By reason of this, Canute
entered the country of the West Saxons, and forced the people to be
A.D.1016. sworn unto him, and to give him pledges. Duiing this season, King
Egelred being in London, was taken with gTcat sickness, and there
Api. 23d, died and was buried in the north side of PauFs church, behind'the quire,
A.ajM6. g^f^gp i^g jig^^j reigned unprosperously thirty-eight years ; leaving after
Append,!, j^-j^ i^-g g^j^ eldest son, Edmund Ironside, and Alfred and Edward;
who were in Normandy, sent thither before, as is above-rehearsed.
This Egelred, although he was miserably assailed and vexed of his
enemies, yet he with his council gave forth wholesome laws, contain-
ing good rules and lessons for all judges and justices to learn and
A wicked Of this Kjng Egelred I find noted in the book of Roger Hoveden,
posed by that lie deposed and deprivedof his possessions, a certain judge or justice
tiie king, named Walgeatus, the son of one Leonet, for false judgment and
other proud doings, Avhom, notwithstanding, he loved above all others.

(1) Laws of King Egelred. — " Omnis judex Justus misericordiam et judicium libeiet in omnibus,
ut inprimis per rectam scientiam dicat emendationem secundum culpara, et earn taraen admensuret
propter indulgentiam. Quaedam culpae reputantur a bonis judicibus secundum rectum emen-
dandse, quasdam per Dei misericordiam condonandae. Judicia debent es-se sine omni haderunga,
quod non parcatiu: diviti alicui vel enego, amico vel inimico: jus publicum recitari. Nihil autem
injustius est, quam susceptio munerum pro judicio subvertendo : quia munera excascant cord.i
sapientum, et subvertunt verba justorum. Dominus Jesus dixit : ' in quo judicio judicaveritis, judi-
cabimini.' Timeat omnis judex ac diligat Deum judicem suum, ne in die judicii mutus fiat, et
humiliatus ante oculos judicis cuncta videntis. Qui innocentem opprimit, et dimittit noxiuro pro
pecunia, vel amicitia, vel odio, vel quacunque factione, opprimetur ab omnipotente judice. Et
nuUus dominus, nulla potestas, stultos aut improbos judices constituat, quia stultus per ignaviam,
improbus per cupiditateni, vitat quam didicit, veritatem. Gravius enim lacerantur pauperes a
pravis judicibus, quam a cruentis hostibus. Nullus hostis acerbior, nulla pestis eflicaclor quam
familiaris inimicus. Potest aliquoties homo fuga vel defensione vitare pravos inimicos. Non
ita possunt judices, quoties adversus subditos mails desideriis inflammantur. Ssepe etiam boi.i
judices habent malos vicarios et ministros nefandos, quorum reatibus ipsi domini constringuntur,
si non eos coerceant, et a rapacitate coliibeant. Quia Dominus et minister sseculorum ait, non
solum male agentes, sed omnes consentientes digni sunt sterna morte. Ssepe etiam pravi judices
judicium pervertunt, vel respectant, et non finiunt causam, donee voluntas eorum tapleatur. Et
quando judicant, non opera, sed munera considerant. Impii judices, juxta verbum sapientum,
sicut rapaces lupi vespere nil residuant usque mane, id est, de prjesenti solum vita cogitant, de
futura nihil considerant. Malorum praepositorum mos est, ut quicquid auferant, et vix
necessarium pavum quid relinquant sustentationi. Iracundus judex non potest attendere rectam






After the death of Egelred, there was variance among tlie Eng-
lishmen about the election of their king; for the citizens of London,
with certain other lords, named Edmund, the eldest son of Egelred,
a young man of lusty and valiant courage, in martial adventures both
hardy and wise, and who could very well endure all pains ; wherefore
he was sirnamed Ironside. But the more part of the lords favoured
Canute, the son of Swanus, especially the abbots, bishops, and men of
the spiritualty, who before had sworn to his father. By means of this,
many great battles were fought between these two martial princes,
first in Dorsetshire, where Canute was compelled to fly the field, and
after that, they fought another battle in Worcestershire, so sore that Battles
none could tell who had the better ; but either for weariness, or for lack Ed'niuna
of day, they departed one from the other, and on the morrow fought ^"(^
again, but Canute was then compelled to forsake the field. After
this they met in Mercia, and there fought again ; where Edmund, as
stories say, by the treason of that false Edric, duke of Mercia, whom
he before had received to favour, had the worse. Thus there were
many great conflicts between these two princes, but upon one occasion,
when the hosts were ready to join, and a certain time of truce had been
taken before battle, a knight, of the party of Edmund, stood up upon
a high place, and said these Avords : —

" Daily we die, and none hath the Aactory : and when the knights a witty
be dead on either part, then the dukes, compelled by need, shall "[aybiic'a
accord, or else they must fioht alone, and this kingdom is not sufficient ijetween

. • . * ' f . two

for two men, which sometimes sufficed seven. But if the covetousness armies,
of lordship in these twain be so great, that neither can be content to
take part and live by the other, nor the one under the other, then let
them fight alone, that will be lords alone. If all men fight, still, at the
last, all men shall be slain, and none left to be under their lordship,
nor able to defend the king that shall be, against strange enemies and

These words were so well approved of by both the hosts and the Jy^
princes, that all were content to try the quarrel between those two fight
only. Then the place and time were appointed, at which they should hand.'"
both meet in sight of the two hosts, and when either had attacked the

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