The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Part 1: BC60 -AD 645
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called
of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them. The king directed them to fight against the
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
[A.D. 449. And in their days Vortigern invited the Angles thither, and they came to Britain in three
ceols, at the place
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A.D. 606. This year died Gregory; about ten years since he sent us baptism. His father was called
Gordianus, and his mother
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
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
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
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
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
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
daughter of Anna, king of the East-Angles. Ermenred also begat two sons, who were afterwards martyred by
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
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.
(1) This introductory part of the "Chronicle" to
An. I. first printed by Gibson from the Laud MS. only, has been corrected by a collation
of two additional MSS. in the British Museum, "Cotton Tiberius B" lv. and
"Domitianus A" viii. Some defects are also here supplied. The materials of
this part are to be found in Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, Gildas, and Bede. The admeasurement
of the island, however inaccurate, is from the best authorities of those times, and
followed by much later historians.
(2) Gibson, following the Laud MS. has made six nations of five, by introducing the
British and Welsh as two distinct tribes.
(3) "De tractu Armoricano." -- Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i.
I. The word Armenia occurring a few lines above in Bede, it was perhaps inadvertently
written by the Saxon compiler of the "Chronicle" instead of Armorica.
(4) In case of a disputed succession, "Ubi res veniret in dabium," etc. --
Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i. I.
(5) Reada, Aelfr.; Reuda, Bede, Hunt. etc. Perhaps it was originally Reutha or Reotha.
(6) This is an error, arising from the inaccurately written MSS. of Orosius and Bede;
where "in Hybernia" and "in Hiberniam" occur for "in hiberna".
The error is retained in Wheloc's Bede.
(7) Labienus = Laberius. Venerable Bede also, and Orosius, whom he follows verbatim,
have "Labienus". It is probably a mistake of some very ancient scribe, who
improperly supplied the abbreviation "Labius" (for "Laberius") by
(8) Of these early transactions in Britain King Alfred supplies us with a brief but
circumstantial account in his Saxon paraphrase of "Orosius".
(9) "8 die Aprilis", Flor. M. West.
(10) Gibbon regrets this chronology, i.e. from the creation of the world, which he
thinks preferable to the vulgar mode from the Christian aera. But how vague and uncertain
the scale which depends on a point so remote and undetermined as the precise time when the
world was created. If we examine the chronometers of different writers we shall find a
difference, between the maximum and the minimum, of 3368 years. The Saxon chronology
seems to be founded on that of Eusebius, which approaches the medium between the two extremes.
(11) An. 42, Flor. This act is attributed by Orosius, and Bede who follows him, to the
threatening conduct of Caligula, with a remark, that it was he (Pilate) who condemned our
Lord to death.
(12) An. 48, Flor. See the account of this famine in King Alfred's "Orosius".
(13) Those writers who mention this discovery of the holy cross, by Helena the mother of
Constantine, disagree so much in their chronology, that it is a vain attempt to reconcile
them to truth or to each other. This and the other notices of ecclesiastical matters,
whether Latin or Saxon, from the year 190 to the year 380 of the Laud MS. and 381 of the
printed Chronicle, may be safely considered as interpolations, probably posterior to the
(14) This is not to be understood strictly; gold being used as a general term for money
or coin of every description; great quantities of which, it is well known, have been found
at different times, and in many different places, in this island: not only of gold, but
of silver, brass, copper, etc.
(15) An interpolated legend, from the "Gesta Pontificum", repeated by Bede,
Florence, Matth. West., Fordun, and others. The head was said to be carried to Edessa.
(16) Merely of those called from him "Benedictines". But the compiler of the
Cotton MS., who was probably a monk of that order, seems not to acknowledge any other.
Matthew of Westminster places his death in 536.
(17) For an interesting and minute account of the arrival of Augustine and his companions
in the Isle of Thanet, their entrance into Canterbury, and their general reception in
England, vid. Bede, "Hist. Eccles." i. 25, and the following chapters, with the
Saxon translation by King Alfred. The succeeding historians have in general repeated the
very words of Bede.
(18) It was originally, perhaps, in the MSS. ICC. the abbreviation for 1,200; which is
the number of the slain in Bede. The total number of the monks of Bangor is said to
have been 2,100; most of whom appear to have been employed in prayer on this occasion,
and only fifty escape by flight. Vide Bede, "Hist. Eccles." ii. 2, and the
tribe of Latin historians who copy him.
(19) Literally, "swinged, or scourged him." Both Bede and Alfred begin by
recording the matter as a vision, or a dream; whence the transition is easy to a matter
of fact, as here stated by the Norman interpolators of the "Saxon Annals".
(20) This epithet appears to have been inserted in some copies of the "Saxon
Chronicle" so early as the tenth century; to distinguish the "old"
church or minster at Winchester from the "new", consecrated A.D. 903.