M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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War, not like regular Troops, with fome fixed and
fettled Defign, but like Pyrates, facking and deftroying
what they could not carry away. As they were divided



into feveral independent bands, it frequently happened that
no fooner was One gone, but Another came; by which
means the Inhabitants had fcarce any refpite from their In-
curfions. This way of making War was very inconve-
nient for the Englijh, it obliging them to be upon their
guard at all Times and in all Places, fince the Iiland was
liable to be attacked on ever)' Side. On the other hand,
their Enemies, whofe numbers were continually increaf-
ing, being headed by leaders who had no authority over
each other, there was no entering into Treaty with them,
one Band not looking upon it felf bound by what another
did. Thus the Englijh having nothing to gain, but much
to lofe, were at a lofs what mcafures to take againft thefe
Enemies, who carried defolation wherever they came.
I am very fenfible the Danijh Hiftorians fet thefe matters fax. Cram,
in quite another Light. They exprefs the advantages the M»gnut.
Danes had over the Englijh in their firft Incurfions, by •J^"^"'
the name of Conquejis, and ftile the Struggles of the Eng- Pontanus.
lijh to free themfelves from Oppreffion, fo many revolts.

But notwithftanding their giving things thefe fpecious
Names, their advantages are to be confidcred as before re-
prefented, at leaft for the firft hundred years after they be-
gan their ravages.

Before I leave this Subject it will be proper to obferve
that the Englijh and Danijh Hiftorians give very contra-
dictory accounts of thefe Wars. Each endeavours to the
utmoft of his Power, to magnify the advantages of his own
Nation, and leflen thofe of the oppofite Party. However
it is but too vifible that the Danes could not have got
fuch footing in England, had not victory generally inclined
to their Side. But this is not all wherein Hiftorians dis-
agree. They differ chiefly in Chronological Matters, and
in the names of the Perfons of whom they are fpeaking,
which muft of neceflity breed the greateft confufion in
Hiftory.

Through all thefe difficulties am I obliged to fteer my
Courfe, with all imaginable circumfpection anJ v rinelsj
left I fhould be put to a ftand by the obftacles that e\ erj
Moment occur. If the Readers do not find that Con-
nection, and thofe other Embellifhments they could wifli
for, it muft be remembered, that the narration of a War,
carried on for the fake of plunder only, is hardly capable
of Connection or Embellifhment.

After thefe Remarks, which feemed to me neceflary for
the better understanding of the Sequel, it is time to re-
turn to the Reign of Egbert, which was left unfinished in
the foregoing Book, where he appeared only as King of
Weffcx. He is now to make his appearance as King of all
England, and as real Monarch of the feven Kingdoms of
the Heptarchy.



EGBERT, firft King of E



N G L A N D.



EGBERT,
Jirjl King of

I II '1 in. 1 .

~8z8

Tyrrel.
p. 254.



!& Dane!

7*ake a
Defeat.

833.
Ann. Sax.
Malmflj.
La.



E



GBERT, who began his Reign over the JVeJl- As they met with no Opposition, they landed and fell to
Saxons in 800, finifhed not his Conquefts till 817 ravaging the Country. Egbert, upon the firft news of
or 828, from which time his Title of King of this Defcent, marched againft them with what Troops



England is to be dated. But to avoid miftakes,
it muft be remembred, that the Kingdom this Prince was
in actual poSTeffion of, confifted of the ancient Kingdoms
of JVeffex, Sitffex, Kent and EJfex, that were peopled by
Saxons and Jutes. As for the other three Kingdoms,
whofe Inhabitants were Angles, he was contented with re-
ferving the Sovereignty over them, permitting them to
be governed by Kings who were his Vaflals and Tribu-
taries (2).

It has been feen how this Prince, before he turned his
Arms againft his Countrymen, attacked and fubdued the
Britons of Cornwal and Wales. Though his Power, after
that, was exceedingly encreafed, yet the Weljh by their



he could haftily draw together, verily believing at his ap-
proach they would repair to their Ships ; which though he
found they did not do, but on the contrary firmly ftood
their Ground, he refolved to attack them. But he foon Egbert
experienced he had to deal with much more formidable tmrfhdtf
Enemies than he imagined. After a long and bloody thc Dancs-
Battle (5), he had the vexation to fee them victorious,
and his own Army entirely routed. Nay, he found him-
felf fo very hard prefled, that he was forced at length to
follow his flying Troops ; being indebted to the darknefs
of the night for his very Life. This mortification, very
grievous to a Prince hitherto ever victorious, caufed him
to take other meafures for his defence againft thefe new



proceedings plainly Showed they defigned to Shake off* Invaders. In the mean time the Danes, having no defign



his Yoke. Egbert informed of their Intent, gave them
no time to put it in Execution. He marched into their
Country with fo numerous an Army, that they were
forced to fubmit, without offering to come to a Bat-
tle.

Whilft Egbert was enjoying the Fruits of his Victories,
the Danes, who had before made two defcents on Eng-
land (3), arrived at Charmoulh (4) with thirty fiveVeSTels.



to make Conquefts, were Satisfied with plundering the
Country, and returning to their Ships.

Two years after, another band of Danijh Pyrates, ha- 77* Danes
ving been informed by their Spies, that the Cornijh Bri- l a £" ! "°' b "
tons (6) were extremely defirous of throwing off the yoke g "
of the Englijh, went and landed in their Territories, Sax , An ' n ,
where they were received with Joy. Being reinforced
with fome Britijh Troops, they began their march in or-



(1) A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine. Rapin.

(2) It is t.- b- r.blerved, he was not perfectly abfolute, though he became Monareh of England : for feme, if not all the petty Kings, notwithstanding
thty were Tributaries held their Titles fur many years, and fome Succemonc of Monarchs after him; as IV itlaf King of Mercia under Egbert ; and Btr-
tulpb under Etbehvulpb his Sun, Barred King of Mereia, and Edmund King of the Eaf-Anglet ; and fo they continued, at leaft until Edward the Elder.
See Ingulpb. p.S, II, 4.c. Brady, p. III.

(3) Vix. in 7S9, at Portland; and in 832, in thc Me of Sbejye, which they laid wafte. Affer. An*, a. 154. S«r. Am. Huntingd.

(4) In Dcrfetjhire.

(5) There were (lain in .this Bittle, among others, the tw i Bifhops of rVincbefltr and Sbirhf.t, Hirefcrtb and Wigfertb. and the twa Earls DuddJ and
Ofimnd. Huntingd. p. 345. Sax. Ann.

(6, For they ftill inhjbitcd Cernwal, paying Tribute to Egbert, Rafin.

2 iev



8+



The H I S'TORY of ENGLAND.



Vol. I.



a great



Egbert con
firms the



der to give the Englijh Monarch Battle. They were in
hopes to furprife him, but were themfelves aftonifhed to
hear he was marching directly towards them with the fame
'"'Intent. His former Misfortune having made him more
cautious, he had kept his Army in readinefs to march upon
the firft notice of their Arrival. Accordingly being inform-
ed they were landed in the Wcjl , he haftened thither with
all his Forces. He engaged them near Hengijldun ( i ) in
Comma I, and obtained a fignal Victory, which quite ef-
faced the difhonour of his former Defeat.

After this fortunate Blow, which delivered the Englijh
for a fhort fpace from the Danijh Invafions, we find but
one remarkable particular in Egbert's Reign. It is faid that
this Prince, by a publick Edict, approved by the general
Affembly of the Nation, ordered, That for the future the
^skln Tn the name or * England fhould be given to that part of Great-
Name of Britain, conquered by the Anglo-Saxons, and erected into
Britain into f even Kingdoms (2). But it is much more likely, he only
hnd. " E " confirmed or revived this Name, which certainly is older
than the Reign of Egbert. We find in Bede's Ecclefi-
aftical Hiftory, that before that time the three Nations
fettled in Great-Britain, are indifferently called Angli or
Englijh. And indeed Bcde himfelf, who wrote long be-
fore Egbert, gives his Hiftory the title of the Ecchfiafiical
Hijiory of the Englijh Nation, though it much more relates
to the Churches of Kent, Weffex, Suffex and Ejfex, than
to thofe of Mercia, Northumberland, and Eajl - Anglia.
I have already faid, that the change of the name of Bri-
tain into that of England, ought to be carried back to
Proof: oj bis tne Year 585 or 5 S6. In confirmation of which, and to
7'jl AuiLr ^ ew tne improbability of Egbert's being the Author of
this Change, I fhall alledge the following Proofs, which
to me feem very ftrong. In the firft place, Egbert had no
reafon to call the feven Kingdoms England, fince he him-
felf was a Saxon, and the Provinces, his own Kingdom
confifted of, were peopled with Saxons and Jutes. Be-
fides, the Angles or Englijh, inhabiting Mercia, Eajl- An-
glia, and Northumberland, were his Vaflals and Tributaries.
Now is it at all likely, that the Conqueror fhould impofe
on his victorious Subjects the Name of thofe they had
fubdued ? This might indeed be done infenfibly, but it is
not probable a Conqueror fhould enjoin it by an Edict ;
but as this amounts to no more than Conjecture, I fhall
proceed to more fubftantial Proofs. An Hiftorian pofitively
affirms, that a little after the founding of the feven
Kingdoms, the name of England was given to Britain by
the unanimous confent of the feven Kings. But this can
by no means be applied to the time of Egbert (above two
hundred and fifty Years after) fince that Prince could not
have publifhed this Edict till after the diffolution of the



of that
Change.



Jo. Sariib'



Heptarchy. Befides, how came Bede, who lived one hun-
dred and fifty Years before Egbert, to call the three Na-
tions fettled in Britain, Englijhmcn, if that Monarch was
the Author of that Name? But what is ftill more con-
vincing, though^ the Subjects of ha, King of Weffex,
were Saxons or Jutes, that Prince however, in his Laws
enacted for the IVeJl-Saxons, only ftiles them Englijlimen.

If an Englishman, fays he, commits Theft. Again, //• a Brcm P t -

Weljh Slave Jhall kill an Englishman. Is it not plain l^ ?*'.

that unlefs this name had been common to the three Na- 7S.
tions, Ina would not have called his Subjects Englijhmen,
but Saxons? In fhort, it is not at all ftrange that imme-
diately after founding the feven Kingdoms, the Anglo-Sax-
ons fhould term their Conqueft, England, fince the Angles
were in PolTeffion of a larger and more confiderable Tract
of Land than both the Saxons and Jules. But it was not
natural this Name mould be introduced in the Reign of
Egbert, when the three Kingdoms of the Angles were gone
to decay, and the Kingdom of the Wefl-Saxons in a flou-
rifhing Condition.

Egbert died in 838 (3), after he had reigned thirty feven The Death «f
Years, twenty Years as King oi~ Wefcx only, feven Years Egb.rt.
with the dignity of Monarch, and ten Years as real Sove- 838.
reign of all England. Redburg his Spoufe had never af- Sa * - Ann "
fumed the Title and Port of a Queen, becaufe of the Law
made in Weffex, on account of the death of Brithric. She J. Beaver,
is faid to have perfuaded the King to forbid the IVelJh on
pain of Death to come beyond Offa's Dike, the Boundary
of Mercia and Wales.

Egbert left but one Son, named Ethelwulph, who fuc-
ceeded htm both as King of IVeffex, Ejfex, Kent and Suf-
fex, and as Sovereign of the other three Kingdoms. Eg- RuJb. "
bert had doubtlefs another Son, fince this was defigned for H>ft- Mon -
the Church. A modern Author gives the name of Ethel- T Jtn i ' '
bert to Egbert's eldeft Son ; but I know not whence he had
his Information. Some fay he had alfo a Daughter called j. Tinmuth.
Edgith, who founded the Abbey of Pollefworth (4), but
this is uncertain.

By all that has been faid of Egbert, it is eafy to- fee this
Prince had all the Qualifications of a great Warrior. He
accomplifhed his Ends, not by fuch methods as Hengifl and
Ojfa had taken, but by way of Arms, which tho' no lefs
Criminal, tarnifhes not the Reputation of thofe that make
ufe of it, especially when crowned with Succefs. It is a
lamentable thing that Ambition, by which Princes are led
to invade the Property of others, fhould pafs in the World
for a Virtue, and that an Hiftorian, by reafon of Men's de-
praved Notions, fhould not dare to reprefent it in its true
colours, fince, generally fpeaking, they are your ambitious
Princes that are honoured with the Sirname of Great.



2. ETHELWULPH.



ETHEL-
WULPH,
id King if
England.
838.
An. Sax.
H. Hunt.
I.5.

Tie Danes
land at
Southamp-
ton.

Sax. Ann.
Huntingd.
I.3.



ETHELWULPH, Egbert's only Son came to
the Crown after his Father's Death. Some fay he
was rbrced to have a Difpenfation from the Pope,
becaufe he was in Holy-Orders. But it is not very
likely, that after the Death of his elder Brother, Egbert
would fuffer him to be bred a Churchman, fince he had no
other Son to fucceed him (5).

Ethelwulph was hardly warm in his Throne, when a
Fleet of Danes (6) appeared near Southampton. After they
had roved up and down for fome time, they landed and ra-
vaged the flat Country. Ethelwulph, a lover of Peace and
his Eafe, Sent Wulfherd his General againft them, who beat
them back to their Ships. But the King had not reafon
long to rejoice at this Victory. Before his Army returned,
News was brought him, that more Danijh Forces, having
landed at Portland, were plundering and deftroying the
Country. Though he had no reafon to be difpleafed with
Wulfhtrd{i), he fent Earl Ethelhelm to command the Army,



who was fhamefully beaten and put to flight (8). Herbert
the fucceeding General was ftill more unfortunate, for he
was not only vanquifhed, but loft his Life in the Battle.
Thefe two Victories gave the Danes opportunity to over-
run feveral Counties, particularly Kent and Middlefex (9).
Canterbury, Rochejler, and London were great Sufferers on
this occafion, the Enemy committing unheard-of Cruelties
before they returned to their Ships.

Some make Witglaph King of Mercia die this Year 839. 83 j.
Others place his Death two Years fooner in 837. But
this difference is of little moment, this Prince making but
a very mean Figure after he became Vaflal to the King of
Weffex ( 1 o). Berthulph his Brother fucceeded him

The next Year Ethelwulph, not at all Satisfied with his Berthulph.
two laft Generals, were refolved to go in Perfon againft a K*gjf
Body of Danes that were arrived in thirty five Ships, and ' "™
landed on the Coaft oiWeJfex. The two Armies engaging Aff J ; nn
at Charmouth, the Englijh were worfted, and thought Huntingd.



( 1 ) Now called Hengflon-biH. Rafin.

I them to fubmit to his Dominions, called a
' the general Confent of the Clergy and Laity,
iter called England, and that thofe who be-

" fore were named Jutes or Saxons, mould now be ftiled Englijhmen." 'Annals cf't'be Catbadral Cbunb of Wcfiminjkr in Munaflie. Anglican. Vol. I. p. 3:.

R. de Dicilo. p. 449. Chronol. St. Auguftin's Monaft. Cant, in X, Script, p. 2138; and after them all our modern Chroniclers. Egbert may indeed have

p'ablimed an Edid for the confirming or reviving of that Name ; but that it was in ufe long before this time, is evident (as Rafin obferves) from the Laws ot"

King Ina ; from Bede's Ecclefuftical Hiftory; from Matt. Wejim. p. 200, &c.

(3) Some place his death in 836 or 837. He was buried at Wincbcftcr. Malmjb. p. 37. Bromft.

(4) In IVafwickjbirt.

{ 5) Brtsmptai and Huntingdon fay, that he had been confecrated Biihop of Wincbejler ; but, upon his Father's death, other Heirs failing, he took upon him
the Reins of the Government, p. 802, 348.
t.6) Of thirty three Sail. Sax. Ann.

(7) Wulfetrd »•!• probably then dead ; for he dkd in S37, according to the Saxon Annals, which place Egbert' 's d«(h i» 836.

(8) In this Battle Eatl Etbtlbelm was flain. Sax. Ann. Huntingd. p. 347.

(91 rh 'Y killed abundance of People in Lindfcj, Eajl- Anglia, and Kent, $rx. Ar.lt. Huntirgd, n. 347.
( ic) He was buncd at Rrfmium, 01 Reftm in DtrWbire. Fitr. Wig,

3 themfelves



Book IV.



r. 1 :
ff'tbe F



']&.



Buchan*

Boetb.

HolJinefi



2. ETHELWULPH rfW ATHELSTAN:



themfelves happy that the Enemies after their Victory,
were contented with carrying oft" their Booty, the only
end of theft Danijh Expeditions.

This year (or as fome (ay the year before) was very
remarkable for the entire deftruction of the Picls. After
a long War with the Scots their neighbouts, they loft two
fucceflive Battles, which difabled them from making any
farther Refiltance. Keneth II. King of Scotland, exafpe-
rated againft them for having flain his Father, and inhu-
manly mangling his Corps, told the Scots they ought not to
Jofe the prefent opportunity of rooting out a Nation that
had been their perpetual Enemies. His advice was approved
of, and executed with iuch a barbarous Fury, that from
that time nothing remains but the bare memory of



that miierable Nation, which had fo long fiourirhed i.i
Great-Britain. It is chiefly owing to his extirpating
the Picls, thnt Krreth II. w^s looked" upon by the Scott as
an illuftrious Prince, and one of the Founders of their
Monarchy.

The Danes continuing their Incurfions, Ethckuuh-L, who Eihel«
was naturally flbthful, thought himfelf unable to govern a-"
lone all his dominions, expofed as they were to the perpc-".,'
tual Infults of Foreigners. This confideration, and per- ht ' Natural
haps his tender Affection for Atheljian his natural Son (i ),'""''
made him refolve to refign to him the Kingdoms ot Kent,
Ejfex, and Sufex (2), with the Title df King of Kent, re-
ferving to him/elf the Sovereignty of all England^ with the
Kingdom ol iVeJJex.



Ethelwulph in Weffex\ Athelstan in Kent.



841.

Erhclnd
King of
Northum-
berland
S. DunJm.
M.Wdi.




Sax. Ann.



NDRED King of Northumberland died in
8,ir, and was fucceeded by Etbelred his Son.
Rodcric, firnamed Mawr, (i. e.) the Great, was
then King of Wales. This Prince, to whom
the Brit i/b Hiirorians give thehigheft Commendations, at-
tacked Berthulpb King of Mercia with great fuccefs. As
little inclined to War as Ethelwulph was, he was obliged to
march in perfon into Mercia, to flop the progrefs of the
JVelJh Prince. He eafily faw the dangerous confequence of
fuffering the JVeljh to recover any part of the country ta-
ken from them by the Englijh. And therefore, without
flaying to be follicited, he went and joined Forces with the
King of Mercia. Whilft Roderic had to deal with Bcr-
thulph alone, he imagined he was powerful enough to dif-
poflefs him, if not of the whole, yet at leaft of good part
of his Kingdom. But when he found Ethelwulph engaged
in the quarrel, he defifted from his Enterprize and fued for
Peace, which he obtained without any difficulty, both the
Sovereign and his Vaffal defiring only to live in peace and
quiet. This fame Roderic left three Sons, among whom
he fhared his dominions, which by that means were di-
vided into the three Kingdoms of Venedotia, Demetia, and
Powis.

Ethelred, who afcended the Throne of Northumberland
in 841, was driven out of the Country three years after,
by one of the Factions that for a long time prevailed by
d turns in that Kingdom, and Redowald put in his place.
The new King being flain fhortly after by the Danes, in
a defcent made on Northumberland, Ethelred was recalled
by his Party, who were now become powerful enough to
fupport him in the Throne.

The Danes never failed to vifit England once a year,
purely for the fake of plunder. In 845 the Earls Enulph
and Ofric, with Biftiop Aljlan, gave them battle near the
River P arret (3), and obtained a fignal Victory, which
probably was the reafon the Englij/i remained unmolefted
ibr fome years.
„j. The King of Northumberland reigned but three years af-
ter his Reftoration. The oppofite Party having put him
to death, a Lord, named Osbcrt, was placed on the Throne.
The troubles and divifions in that Kingdom gave the
Danes opportunity of making frequent Incurfions. When-
ever they came, they were fure of being welcome to the
weakeft Party. Neither of the Factions fcrupling to join
with the Danes in order to get uppermoft.

Whilft the Danes were thus employed in the North, the
Southern Provinces enjoyed fome Tranquillity. But at
length, in 851, they landed on the Coaft of IVeJJex, where
crc defeated. tne y committed unfpeakable Cruelties. After ravaging the
Sax. Ann. Country, they were met as they were returning to their
Ships with their Booty, by Earl Ccorle, Etbelwulpb's Ge-



Fthchfd
King of
Noitn-JnT
btrland
txfelt'd a
rtpr'd.
M. Weil.



8 4 J.
Tie Dam
defeated.
Sax. Ann

Fi. Wig.



Osbert Kitie
pf Northum

848.
S. Dunelm.
Fl. Wig.



B5I.

Tie Danes
land in
Wtffex, and



neral (4), who waited for them at TFenbury (<;). Being in- AH",
cumbred with their Spoils, they fought in fuch diforder, Alf "
that they were entirely routed. Some time after, King
Atheljian going on board his Fleet, fought the Danes near
Sandwich, and took nine of their Ships. He could not
however prevent another Band from wintering in the If-
land of Sbepey.

The ill Succefs the Danes met with, did not in the
leaft difcourage them. The next Spring they came up the - l
Thames with three hundred Sail (6), and nothing being'.



852;

other D,f

'. of the



able to oppofe them, landed near London, where they be- Affer!
gan their ufual Ravages. The two Kings, not expecting Hunting*
this fudden Invafion, did not dare to take the Field,
till they had an Army capable of withftanding them,
which they endeavoured to have with all poffible expe-
dition.

Whilft the two Princes were making preparations, the
Danes made ufe of their time to plunder : They were not
content with ravaging the Country, but attacked the
Towns, which, for the moll part, not being in condition
to ftand a Siege, were forced to open their Gates to their
mercilefs Enemies. London and Canterbury were great fuf-
ferers on this occafion. Having pillaged thefe two Cities^
they marched into Mercia, and overthrew an army led
againft them by Berthulpb, in defence of his Country (7).
Nothing more oppofing their progrefs, they would have
over-run all England, if the news that Ethelwulph and A-
theljlan defigned to intercept them in their return, had not
made them halt. They repaired the Thames, with defign BattU cf
to give the two Kings battle, now encamped at Okcly in okel y.-
Surrey. They committed in their march fuch barbarities, 2' ^' ? J
that the very mention of them would ftrike one with hor-1. 5.
ror. In fhort, they engaged the two Kings in the very place
where they had encamped in expectation of the Enemy.
Here a bloody Battle was fought, wherein the Englijh at
length were victorious, and made Co terrible a flaughter of
the Danes, that very few efcaped.

Berthulpb King of Mercia died this year, and was fuc- Buthred
ceeded by Buthred, with the confent of Ethehvulph, whofe K '"S "f
Daughter he had married. " e,ci ^

Alter the Battle ot Ukely we hear no more of Atheljian, Hunting.
and therefore prefume he did not long furvive that great F1, W ' B ' .
Victory, to which his Valour greatly contributed. Ah £2,1
though Ethelwulph had feveral Sons born in wedlock, that G. Malm;
were old enough to affift him in the adminiftration of Af- L '• c ' Zl
fairs, yet he would not give Ethelbald his eldeft, Atbcl/lan's
Kingdom. Befides his having no great Affection for him,
he dreaded his reftlefs and turbulent Spirit. The youno-
Prince, who thought himfelf no lefs worthy of a Crown
than Atheljian his Baftard -brother, was very much difgufted
at this pretended Injuftice.



(I) The Sax. Ann. IV. Malmsb. and Etbetiserd, call him only the Son of Atbdiimlph, p. 37, andS4l. Chronic, de Maitrot ftyles him Etbelwulpb's Bro-
ther, p, 37. mi Mat- Wtjlm. fays, that he viastasnaturalStin, p. 301. So little Agreement is there between the ancient Hiftorians in this and other Maueri«

(z) Together with Surrey. Sax. Ann.

(3) In Somerfetfhire.

(4) He was Earl of Damnonium, or Devon/hire. Solx. Ann. Affcr. S. Dunelm. Dugdale's Baron. Vol. I.

( ;) In Dcdorjhire, not far from Plymouth. It is called in Saxon Wicganbearche ■ See Sax. Ann. and Camden.

(6) Affer. and Sax. Ann. fay with three hundred and fifty, Ann, p. 155. and Huntingd. only with two hundred and fifty, p. 34.!}.

(7J After which he never made any Figure. Hunting, p. 348,



N», 5. Vol. t



Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 35 of 360)