M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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his Concubine : - -ly the Daugh ti of Eatl Tomb, la} s RinelUnJii. p. 3O2.


Ecok V.



ther Son call'd Edwy, and tlirec Daughters. Edgiva
the cldeft was married to an Engiijh Earl, who was
flain in Battle. Edgith his fecond, had the misfor-
tune to fall to the lot of the Traitor Edric Duke
of Mercia. Edgina the youngelt was Wife of Uthred
Earl of Northumberland. By Emma of Normandy his
fecond Wife, he had Alfred and Edward, and a
Daughter named Goda, who was lirft married to Walter

Earl of Mantes, and afterwards to Eujlachius Earl of

Ethclred has commonly the firname of the Unready given
him hy hiftorians, either becaufe he was often furpriz'd by
the Danes, or was never .A!<w»/y when he was to go to the
wars. At his coming to the crown, he found the King-
dom in a rich and flourifhing condition, but left it at fail
death in extreme poverty and defolation.

i(5. EDMUND II. Sirnam'd Ironfide.


AW hy tie

lit Dmcs
declare jur
Six. Ann.
G. Malm.
S. punelrn.
M. Weil.


Jicged m
and btitb
timet re-


A Battle
when net-
tbtr Hide
bad* the

Artifice of
Ednc to
di /hear ten
the Engl flu
S. Dunclm
Matt. Weft


in the r.igl t

London a-
gain with-

Five Bat-
tki between
Edmund j

Canut.' :n
one Year.

AFTER Ethelred's death, the City of London
and all the Lords there prefent proclaimed his
Son Edmund King of England, who had already
given fignal proofs of his courage and conduct.
But the Danes and all the counties in their polfelTion
declared for Canute (1). However as the Engiijh obeyed
him againlt their wills, abundance of them came and of-
fered their fervice to Edmund, whom they looked upon
as their lawful Prince, though they were conftraincd to
fwear to his Rival. By this mean;, the two Kings were
more upon an equality, which OCCafion'd many engage-
ments with various fuceefs, that ferv'd only to prolong
the war, but not to decide the quarrel. The city of
London being a great fupport to Edmund, the Danijh King
thought of taking it from him, believing the depriving
him of his chief ftrength would put a fpeedy end to the
war. With this view, whillt Edmund was eflewhere ehi-
ploy'd (2), he anproach'd London, and forming the liege,
carried it on vigoroully. But the brave refiftance of the
citizens giving Edmund time to throw in fuccours from
the other fide of the Thames, Canute faw himfelf oblig'd
to raife the fiegc. Having thus loft his aim, he us'd
many ftratagems to furprize the enemy, or draw him
off from London. This laft project fucceeding, he went
and laid fiege a fecond time to the city. But he met
with the fame difficulties as before ; the Inhabitants, by a
very obftinate defence, giving Edmund time to come to their

Canute vexed to fee his meafurcs thus broken, fuddenly
raifed the fiege, to go and offer Edmund battle (3), who
was no lefs delirous of deciding the quarrel, by one fingle
aiflion, and therefore, inilead of retreating, march'd to-
wards him. In this battle, which was very bloody, they
both gave fignal proofs of their conduit and courage,
without either of them being able to make victory incline
to his fide. After a long fight, the two armies were
oblig'd to part with almoit an equal lofs. The Engiijh
army however had like to have been worfted by the
artifice of Edric Streon, who was on the fide of the
Danes. This Lord perceiving the EngUJlj troops, con-
trary to his Expectation, fought in fuch manner as made
the victory dubious, cut off the head of one Ofmer a
foldier, who very much relembied Edmund, and fixing it
on the top of his lance, advane'd to the foremoft ranks,
and expofing it to the view of the Engiijh, cry'd out
aloud, F/y,Jiy,you fcoundrels, behold the head of your King,
in whom you trujl. The Englifl) were thunder-ftruck at
this tight, whicli would have occafion'd their defeat, had
not the King fhown himfelf with his helmet off to his
aftonifh'd troops, and by that means reviv'd their cou-
rage, which the belief of his death began to cool. The
battle lading till night, without any vifible advantage
on either fide, Edmund prepared to renew the fight next
morning. But Canute, who had other defigns, retired,
. during the night (4), to his fleet that expected him, and
imbarking his troop;, rowed along the ceaft for fomc
time, to amufe the enemy, who could not guefs his In-
tention. When he thought he had deceived Edmund,
he landed his forces, and befieged London a third time.
But fucceeding no better than formerly, he retir'd elle-

The particulars of this war would be curious enough,
if it were poflihle to give a clear account of them. But
we meet with extreme confufion in this part of the Eng-

lifl) hiftorV. What may be izathcred from hiftonans for . . -■
certain, is this, that the two contending rrinces tougnt SaX Arn>
Within the fpace of one year, five pitch'd battles. One c. Malm,
of thefe battles, fought in hjjex, would have infallibly Hunt.ngd.
prov'd fatal to Canute, had it not been for the pernicious nc m *
advice of Edric Streon, who continually changing fides,
was then in the Engiijh army. Edmund had been fo ge-
nerous as to pardon him, and fo eafy as to give credit to
his oaths of being entirely devoted to his fervice for the
future. Neverthelefs, this traytor, who was a creature ^ r jra!
of the King of Denmark, let no opportunity flip of ferving Advice of
the Dane. As he taw the Danes, hard preiled by the E^"' 4 '
Englifl}, retreating in great difordcr, he artfully perfuad-
ed Edmund to Hop the purfuit of the fugitives, by
making him apprehenfive their defpair might caufe them to
rally, and the victory, by fome unforeseen accident, be
match'd out of his hands. This artifice, which had
formerly taken effeift with Ethclred, wrought likewifc
with Edmund, who fuffered himfelf to be guided by this
fatal advice. One is at a lofs which to admire moll,
Edmund's Imprudence in being govern'd by a man of
known difloyalty, or the traytor's boldnefs and confi-
dence. Tired at length with difiembling his real Senti-
ments, he threw away the mask in the laft battle near
AJJ'andun (5). Whilft the two armies were engaged, he^c Battle
fuddenly deferted his poft, and joined the Danes, who re- |£ Aw . n -" ^J
ceived him as their real friend. This treachery caufed nute^a/m
fuch conllernation among the Englifli, that throwing down **• v&orj
their arms, they thought of nothing but faving themfelves c l' f ' jf™
by flight. Edmund's lok upon this occafion was irretriev- Ednc.
able, the flower of the Engiijh nobility being flain in this Sax - Ann *
unfortunate battle. The Earls Alfric, Goodwin, Ulfitetel, jvJ™v'ft.
Elhelward, all of diftinguifhed valour and loyalty, fell that Huntingd.
day with tiieir fwords in their hands in defence of their
King and Country.

After this important victory, Canute looked upon him- Edmund
felf as irrefiftible. He could not conceive, Edmundwould raijesaiw
ever be able to bring another army into the field that ' ' ""•''
durft look him in the face. But as the Engiijh were in
extreme danger, they made extraordinary efforts for their
deliverance. Edmund had for him the hearts of his fub-
jedts, and particularly the Londoners, who were always
ready to give him effectual proofs of their affection and
loyalty. And therefore, fo far was he from being caft SsX . Ana.
down by this grievous misfortune, that he rallied his dif-
perfed troops, and drawing together a more powerful ar-
my than what he had loft, went in queft of his enemy,
who was marching to Gloueejler. Canute, for his part, un-
willing to give him time to augment his forces, made
hafte to meet him with intent to offer him battle. The
two Kings ftood in fight of each other for fome time, at
the head of their relpeitive armies (6), without either
giving the fignal of battle. The dread of the event held
them equally in lufpeiice. Edmund was fenfib'e, he fhou'd
be irretrievably undone, if he loft the day ; and Canute
forefaw a general defection of the Engiijh, in cafe he were
vanquifh'd. Thus, in all appearance, the gain or lofs of
a great kingdom depended on the fuccels of that impor-
tant day. At laft, Edmund, who was ftrong and robuft EJrr]un j
of body, and for that reafon firnam'd Iron-fide, fent Ca- ft-Js a
nute word, that to prevent the great effulion of blood, cba '
that was going to be fpilt in their quarrel, he judged it ,,.[':;.,V,
proper for them two to decide it by fingle combat. Ca- accept it.
nute returned in anfwer, that, though he came not be- M jln " ls

fi) Simeon of Durham, and others, fay, that the Bifhops, Abbots, and many of the Engiijh Nobles coming to Souttamptcn, abjured the Race of Elici-
ted, at the fame time they chefe Carets lor their King, and fworc Fealty to him ; who alio Wore to them in Matters Ec*:iej;ajl;tat zad Civil, to be their
lai.hlul Loid.

(2) He was gone to fciure ffeffex, which fubmittcd to him. Sax. Ann. Huntingd. p. 362. S. Dundm. p. 173.

(3) This w >s ..bout Midlummer. Sax. Attn. lir*mpt. p. 904.

(+) This E ittle was fought at Sccerjlan, whiih Camden fuppofes to be Shcrjlon in Wiklhirt ; others think it to be the Place where feur Stonet, called
Shlrc-Jtonet, part the four Counties of Oxford, GUttceJicr, Worcefier, and Warwick. Mitten makes the Battle to have JaiKd two whole Days, and Canute
to have march. d oft the fecond N ght : fodoth Matt. lVeftminJier, p. 49S. and he relates Edr:c\ Stratagem under the fecond Day.

(i) Ajkdon in FJfsx near Walden. C.inttte built a Church here in memory of this Battle to pray Cat the Souls of the (lain ; and caufed four Hillocks
to be thrown up, as Monuments of thofe th itwerc killed in the Battle. Twc of thefe monuments bein^ opened, and fearched into, there were found three
Stone-Coffins, with abundance of pieces of Bones in them, and many Chains of iron, like thofe on Horles Bits. Thefe Hills arc commonly called Bait-
lew-Hills, though th 1 lie :n AfrMn Parilh. Some think it was Bartlvw Church that was luilt by Canute, Sec Magna Britannia, Vol. I. p. 670. and

io. The Place " *. Dcuburj} in Ghncjitrjkitc, S. Du-Arr.. p. 17 ;, Eton}!, p. ocj.


T 24

tte H I S T R T of E N G L A N D.

Vol. I.

The Peace
is made by
the dii'rjion
of the ki«g~

Sax. Ann.
fi. Dunelm-

hind his antagonilt in courage, yet being of a weak confti-
tution and (mall ftature, he fhould take care how he enga-
ged in lb unequal a combat. Adding, if Edmund was de-
firous to prevent any further effufion of blood, he was rea-
dy to refer the deciiion of matters to the principal Officers
of the two armies. This propofal was received with joy
bv the Nobles of Edmund's party, who paffionately defir'd
to find fome expedient to put an end to fo fatal a war. Ed-
mund, on the contrary, would fain have decided the quar-
rel by aims, but however, durft not oppofe the Nobility,
for fear it fhould occafion their defertion. Plenipotentiaries
therefore were nominated on both fides, who met in a lit-
tle Ifle in the Severn, called Alney, over againft Gloucejler,
to confult about fettling the pretenfions of the two Princes.
After a fhort conference, the peace was concluded by the
partition of the kingdom. JVcJfex, that is, all the country
South of the Thames, with the city of London, and part of
the antient kingdom of Ejjex ( 1 ), was afihned to Edmund.
Canute had for his fhare the kingdom of Mercia, including
Northumberland and Eajl-Anglia. Every thing being fet-
tled, the two Kings met in the Ifle of Alney ; and mutual-
ly ("wearing to preferve the peace, Edmund retired into
Wejfex (2).

Edmund's challenging Canute has given occafion to fome
the pretended Hiftorians to affirm, the two Kings actually fought a duel

tit fwo
M. Weft.
Ethel. Ric-


in the Ifle of Alney. And to make this appear the more
probable, they have taken care to be very particular in the
circumftances of this mighty combat. They tell us, after
it had laited a good while without any advantage on either
fide, Canute finding his ftrength to fail him, lifted up the

Vifor of his Helmet, and propofed thedivifion of the king-
dom, which Edmund contented to immediately. It is
further added, at the fame inftant, they ran to embrace
one another, to the aitonifhment of the two armies, who
were fpeftators. But the bed Hillorians not mentioning
this fingle combat, it can't be conceived they would have
neglected to embellifh their Hiftories with fo notable an
event, had there been any foundation for it (3).

Edmund did not long enjoy the peace, that coft him fo 1017,
much pains. Edric Streon his Brother-in-law, fearing the Y m "" A
union of the two Kings might prove fatal to him, bribed G?Ma1n.fli
two of the King's Chamberlains to aflaflinate him. Some Hun- , j
report, he employed his own Son in this execrable trea- M- ^»-
fon. Thus died that brave Prince, who deferved a better „',„.'
fate (4). He had not fat on the throne a whole year. But
in fo fhort a reign, he had given frequent proof, of an un-
daunted courage, a conlummate prudence, and a generous

He left, by Algitha his wife, two Sons, Edmund and
Edward, of whom I fhall have occafion to (peak hereafter.
He had alio a natural Son, named Edwy, who was after-
wards put to death by Canute.

The Duke of Mercia, who was mightily pleafed with Canute'/
doing Canute fo fignal a fervice, made halte to bring him ^' i '"' J '"
the firfl news of it; but Canute deterred fo barbarous a Hum-red.
deed. However he concealed his fentiments, becaufe he Ethel. Re-
thought he fhould have farther occafion for the Traitor, ^"wtft
and even promiled to advance him above all the Peers of
the Realm. He kept his word with him ; but in a very
different manner from what the Villain expe&ed.


Canute gets
bimfelf ac~
King of all

S. Dunelm.



17. CANUTE the Great, the fecond Danijh

King of England.


HE death of Edmund furnifhed Canute with an
opportunity and pretence of becoming Mafter of
IVeJfex, which the lawful Heirs were little able
to difpute with him. It was not properly by
force of arms, that he undertook to carry his point, but
by extorting the confent of the Nobles. How averfe foe-
ver the Englijh might be to the Danijh government, he
was in hopes, the dread of plunging the kingdom into
frefh calamities, would make a ftill deeper impreffion on
them, and conflrain them to comply with his defires.
Wherefore he required a general afTembly to be called in
IVeJfex (5), in order to let forth his claim, reckoning it
would be abvays feafonable to ufe force, if he met with
too ftrong ak oppofition. Edmund having left two Sons
and two Brothers, Canute did not feem to have any right
to pretend to the Crown. But he maintained, that in the
treaty of the Ifle of Alney, the agreement was, the Sur-
vivor of the two Kings fhould fucceed the other. He
moreover plainly intimated, he fhould not (land to the
determination of the aflembly, if the matter were decided
againft him. Edmund's two Sons were, very young, and
his Brothers in Normandy, where they thought of nothing
left than obtaining the crown of IVeJfex. On the other
hand, Canute was in great power, and threatened very
hard. Befides his pofleffing half the kingdom, he had
many friends among the JVeji-Saxons themfelves, without
reckoning thofe who were perfuaded any expedient was
preferable to the renewing of the war. It was therefore
fcarce poffible for the friends of the Englijh Princes to fur-
mount fo great obftacles. Had they been obftinately bent
to continue the fucceffion in the family of Edmund, they
would have, probably, rekindled in the kingdom a war,
which mult have ended in its deilrudtion. In this per-
plexity, they were contented with infinuating, that they
would agree, Canute fhould be declared Protector of Ed-
mund's children, till the eldeft was of age to govern. By
this means, though they placed not thefe Princes on the
throne, at leaft they prelei ved their rights entire. But Ca-
nute was not fatisfied with a borrowed power. He was
willing to fucceed Edmund in his own right, by vertue of

the treaty of Alney; a right which though all did not ac-
knowledge, yet none durft openly conteft. Though the
treaty did not exprefly fay what he afierted, he maintain'd it
to be the true fenfe thereof, and that it could not be other-
wife underftood without infringement. To prove this to s. Dunelm.
be the defign and intent of the parties concern'd in the Hoved.
treaty, he called to witnefs all thofe who were prefent at the
conclufion of the peace, and demanded of them, whether
there was any thing ftipulated in favour of Edmund's Sons ?
And upon their anfwering, there was no mention at all
of the Princes (6), he inferr'd from thence they had no right
to fucceed their Father. This reafoning, weak as it was,
being fupported by the votes of his party, and moreover by
the fears of the Englijh in general, was fufficient to deter-
mine the afTembly to comply with his will. His reafons
were thought, or feigned to be thought, very folid ; and
without a clofer examination, he was acknowledged and
proclaimed King of all England, and all the Lords, both pj t dimdet
Englijh and Danijh, fwore allegiance to him. Then he England
was crowned, and immediately after, he divided the king- '"">/'""'
dom into four governments, Mercia, Northumberland, G . Malmfb.
Eajl-Anglia and JVcJJex. The firft he gave to Edric Streon, 1. J. c. 11.
the fecond to Eric, the third to Turkill, referving IVeJfex Huntingd.
to himfelf, without appointing cither Duke or Earl.

Canute was too politick not to know the motive of the He lays a
Englijh acknowledging him for their Sovereign. Tho' all ™*f "
that came near him, took care to hide their fentiments, f-'^J? ^_
he was fenfible an Enmity of near two hundred years and gam tit
ftanding, and fomented by continual wars, could not be Ltm 'f' 1 "
extinguifh'd in fo fhort a (pace. For this reafon, he re- "^ '*
folved to ufe all poffible precautions to hinder the revolt of c. Malmifc.
the Englilh. To this end two things were equally necef-
fary, namely, the gaining the affection of his new Sub-
jects, and the getting rid of thoie that could give him any
uneafinefs. Tho' thefe two projects teemed inconfiftent,
he defpaired not however of accomplifhing them, and ac-
cordingly (pent the beginning of his reign to that purpole.
As he well knew, the molt efieftua! means of becoming
popular, was to caufe Juftice to be adminiftred fairly and
impartially, he publickly declared there fhould be, tor the

(1) AniM Eaft-Anglia. M.Wcfl. p. 401. Fhr.Wort. p. 6i3. (2) And Canute into Mercia. Sax. Ann.

(3) Etbelred Abbot of Pieialle, gives a very particular account of what paffed before, at, and after this famous duel. With him agree Huntingdon, and
Matthew of 'IVeJhttnJlcr. Malmjbury fiys, Edmund challenged Canute, but he declin'd the combat, and offered to divide the kingdem. Simeon of Dur~
tam, and Honjedcn, mention nothing of the challenge or duel, but only fpeak of the divilion cf the kingdom by the periuafion of Edrie, in the lame man-
ner as the Saxon Annals. So great is the uncertainty of this facl.

(4) Malmjbury and Brompton relate, that the two Villains ftabb'd him with a Iharp piece of Ire n, as he was ealing Nature. Si me will have h:m to be
taken off" by poilon: Others to be (lain by an Arrow fhot by an Image made on purpofe, which dilcharg'd itlej! up- n the King's touching ir. But this is
improbable. (See the various opinions about his death in Brompton, p. go6.) The Annals fay only, he dird ludd- nly. He was buried by his Grandfather
Edgar at GlaJJenbury. With him fell the Glory of the Englijh Saxons, and by his death the Banes prevailed, and the Saxcn Monarchy in a manner ended,
after it had lafted one hundred and ninety years from the eftabliihmcnt by Egbert, four hundred thirty two from the founding of the Heftareby, and five
hundred fixty ei^ht from the arrival of the Saxons under Hengifi.

(5j It was at London. Sit S. Dunelm. p. 175. Hind. p. 436. (6) S. Dunelm. ar.d Hived, plainly &y, that they lyed, f, 175, 4.36,


Book V.

17. CANUTES Great.

I2 5

S. Dunclm

He endea-
vours to get
rid of the
011 Princes,
Sax. Ann.

Wj E d-
bhind'j two

Sons into
S. Dunclm.
M. Weft.

But they at e
can nd to
Sweden ;

and from
tbence to
where Ed-
mund dies.

The I'M
Edwy's jre
Sax. Ann.
Sim. Dun.

Recalls one,

and puts him
to death.
M. Will.

marries Em-
ma of Nor-
Sax. Ann.
Malm ft.

future, no diftintflion between the Englijh and Danes.
Alter this, he pubiifhed an Edict (1), ordering that every
County fhould be governed by the lame laws as in the
time of the Saxon Kings. He excepted however the nor-
thern Counties, bceaule they were peopled with fearce
any other but Dana, who had introdue'd particular laws
of their own, which there was no occafion to alter. The
fame Edict denoune'd the fevereft punifhinents againft
Malefactors, of what nation foeverj the King's aim be-
ing to let the Englijh fee, they had no reafon to fear any
refpect of perfons. Thefc wife precautions produced the
intended effect. The people were never weary of teltily-
ing their fatisfaction to fee themfelves govem'd by their
ancient laws, under the protection of an equitable Prince,
who feem'd to have no other view but the happinefs of
his fubjcels.

As foon as Canute faw the progrefs he had made in the
hearts of the Englijh, he believed he might venture with-
out danger upon the fecond branch of his project, the
freeing himfelf from thole that gave him molt uneafmefs,
and particularly the Saxon Princes. Alfred and Edward,
Brothers of the late King, were retired into Normandy,
with their Mother Emma, plainly forefeeing it would not
be in the power of the IVijl-Saxons to do juftice to the roy-
al family. As for Edmund's two Sons, they remain'd in
England, being too young to think of providing for their
fafety. Thefe two Princes, notwithstanding their youth,
made the new King fomewhat uneafy, by reafon of the
People's affection for them. He would not have fcrupled
to put them to death ; hut he could not take fuch a ftep
in England, without running the risk of becomir.g odious
to the Englijh, which was deftroying his defigns. How-
ever, as he did not think himfelf perfectly fate, whilft
thefc two Princes Were alive, he gave them in charge to
one of his domeiiicks to carry them into Denmark (2),
under colour of fending them abroad to travel. But in
reality it was only to have it in his power the more eafily
to difpatch them out of the way, when their abfence
fhould have leflened the affection of the people. The
perfon entrufled with the Princes, being confeious of the
King's defigns, was touch'd with compaffion for thefe
Innocents, and inftead of carrying them to Denmark,
conducted them to the King of Sweden, difcovering at
the fame time his Matter's intentions. The King of
Sweden gave the Englifo Princes a very civil reception ;
but however, not to quarrel with Canute, he lent them
to the court of Solomon, King of Hungary, his relation,
who was willing to take care of their education. In pro-
cefs of time, Solomon gave one of his daughters in marri-
age to Edmund; and to Edward, his Sifter-in-law Agitha,
daughter of the Emperor Henry II. Edmund died foon
after his marriage ; but Edward had five children, of
whom two died in Hungary : The reft were, Edgar Artic-
ling, Margaret, and Chrijlian.

There were ftill in England two Sons of Ethelred II,
both nam'd Fdwy, of whom one was born in wedlock,
the other a Ballard. This laft was call'd, but for what
reafon I know not, The King of the Clowns. Canute was
no lels troubled about thefe than the other Princes, every
thing contributing to the fufpicions of a Prince, who, not
being fatisfied with the lawfulnefs of his title, thinks him-
felf unfecure in the throne. And therefore to make him-
felf eafy in this re I beet, he banilh'd them the realm. But
fome time after, recalling the firit, under pretence of be-
ing reconcil'd to him, found means to difpatch him out
of the way. The other, after enduring many hardihips
in exile, return'd into England, where he kept himfelf
concealed, being privately lupplied by his friends with ne-

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