The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Part 3: 755 - 874
A.D. 755. This year Cynewulf, with the consent of the West-Saxon council, deprived Sebright, his relative, for unrighteous deeds,
of his kingdom, except Hampshire; which he retained, until he slew the alderman who remained the longest with him. Then
Cynewulf drove him to the forest of Andred, where he remained, until a swain stabbed him at Privett, and revenged the alderman,
Cumbra. The same Cynewulf fought many hard battles with the Welsh; and, about one and thirty winters after he had the
kingdom, he was desirous of expelling a prince called Cyneard, who was the brother of Sebright. But he having understood that
the king was gone, thinly attended, on a visit to a lady at Merton, (28) rode after him, and beset him therein; surrounding
the town without, ere the attendants of the king were aware of him. When the king found this, he went out of doors, and
defended himself with courage; till, having looked on the etheling, he rushed out upon him, and wounded him severely. Then
were they all fighting against the king, until they had slain him. As soon as the king's thanes in the lady's bower heard the
tumult, they ran to the spot, whoever was then ready. The etheling immediately offered them life and rewards; which none
of them would accept, but continued fighting together against him, till they all lay dead, except one British hostage, and he was
severely wounded. When the king's thanes that were behind heard in the morning that the king was slain, they rode to the spot,
Osric his alderman, and Wiverth his thane, and the men that he had left behind; and they met the etheling at the town, where
the king lay slain. The gates, however, were locked against them, which they attempted to force; but he promised them their own
choice of money and land, if they would grant him the kingdom; reminding them, that their relatives were already with him, who
would never desert him. To which they answered, that no relative could be dearer to them than their lord, and that they would
never follow his murderer. Then they besought their relatives
to depart from him, safe and sound. They replied, that the same request was made to their comrades that were formerly with the
king; "And we are as regardless of the result," they
rejoined, "as our comrades who with the king were slain." Then
they continued fighting at the gates, till they rushed in, and slew the etheling and all the men that were with him; except one, who
was the godson of the alderman, and whose life he spared, though he was often wounded. This same Cynewulf reigned one and thirty
winters. His body lies at Winchester, and that of the etheling at Axminster. Their paternal pedigree goeth in a direct line
to Cerdic. The same year Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, was slain at Seckington; and his body lies at Repton. He reigned one and
forty years; and Bernred then succeeded to the kingdom, which
he held but a little while, and unprosperously; for King Offa the same year put him to flight, and assumed the government; which
he held nine and thirty winters. His son Everth held it a hundred and forty days. Offa was the son of Thingferth, Thingferth of
Enwulf, Enwulf of Osmod, Osmod of Eawa, Eawa of Webba, Webba of Creoda, Creoda of Cenwald, Cenwald of Cnebba, Cnebba of
Icel, Icel of Eomer, Eomer of Angelthew, Angelthew of Offa, Offa of Wermund, Wermund of Witley, Witley of Woden.
[A.D. 755. This year Cynewulf deprived King Sigebert of his kingdom; and Sigebert's brother, Cynehard by name, slew Cynewulf
at Merton; and he reigned thirty-one years. And in the same year Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, was slain at Repton. And Offa
succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians, Bernred being driven out.]
A.D. 757. This year Eadbert, king of the Northumbrians, received the tonsure, and his son Osulf the kingdom; which he held one
year. Him his own domestics slew on the ninth day before the kalends of August.
A.D. 758. This year died Archbishop Cuthbert. He held the archbishopric eighteen years.
A.D. 759. This year Bregowin was invested archbishop at Michaelmas, and continued four years. Mull Ethelwold this year
succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom, held it six winters, and then resigned it.
A.D. 760. This year died Ethelbert, King of Kent, who was the son of King Wihtred, and also of Ceolwulf.
A.D. 761. This year was the severe winter; and Mull, king of
the Northumbrians, slew Oswin at Edwin's-Cliff, on the eighth day before the ides of August.
A.D. 762. This year died Archbishop Bregowin.
A.D. 763. This year Eanbert was invested archbishop, on the fortieth day over mid-winter; and Frithwald, Bishop of
Whitern, died on the nones of May. He was consecrated at York, on the eighteenth day before the calends of September, in the sixth year
of the reign of Ceolwulf, and was bishop nine and twenty winters. Then was Petwin consecrated Bishop of Whitern at Adlingfleet,
the sixteenth day before the calends of August.
A.D. 764. This year Archbishop Eanbert received the pall.
A.D. 765. This year Alred succeeded to the kingdom of the Northumbrians, and reigned eight winters.
A.D. 766. This year died Archbishop Egbert at York, on the thirteenth day before the calends of December, who was bishop
thirty-six winters; and Frithbert at Hexham, who was bishop there thirty-four winters. Ethelbert was consecrated to York, and
Elmund to Hexham.
A.D. 768. This year died King Eadbert, the son of Eata, on the fourteenth day before the calends of September.
A.D. 772. This year died Bishop Mildred.
A.D. 774. This year the Northumbrians banished their king, Alred, from York at Easter-tide; and chose Ethelred, the son of
Mull, for their lord, who reigned four winters. This year also appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the
Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.
A.D. 775. This year Cynewulf and Offa fought near Bensington, and Offa took possession of the town. In the days of this king,
Offa, there was an abbot at Medhamsted, called Beonna; who, with the consent of all the monks of the minster, let to farm, to
Alderman Cuthbert, ten copyhold lands at Swineshead, with leasow and with meadow, and with all the appurtenances; provided that
the said Cuthbert gave the said abbot fifty pounds therefore,
and each year entertainment for one night, or thirty shillings in money; (29) provided also, that after his decease the said lands
should revert to the monastery. The king, Offa, and King Everth, and Archbishop Hibbert, and Bishop Ceolwulf, and Bishop
Inwona, and Abbot Beonna, and many other bishops, and abbots, and rich men, were witnesses to this. In the days of this same Offa was
an alderman, of the name of Brorda, who requested the king for his sake to free his own monastery, called Woking, because he
would give it to Medhamsted and St. Peter, and the abbot that then was, whose name was Pusa. Pusa succeeded Beonna; and the
king loved him much. And the king freed the monastery of Woking, against king, against bishop, against earl, and against all men'
so that no man should have any claim there, except St. Peter and the abbot. This was done at the king's town called
A.D. 776. This year died Bishop Petwin, on the thirteenth day before the calends of October, having been bishop fourteen
winters. The same year Ethelbert was consecrated Bishop of Whitern, at York, on the seventeenth day before the calends of
A.D. 778. This year Ethelbald and Herbert slew three high- sheriffs -- Eldulf, the son of Bosa, at Coniscliff; Cynewulf and
Eggo at Helathyrn -- on the eleventh day before the calends of April. Then Elwald, having banished Ethelred from his territory,
seized on his kingdom, and reigned ten winters.
A.D. 780. This year a battle was fought between the Old-Saxons and the Franks; and the high-sheriffs of Northumbria committed
to the flames Alderman Bern at Silton, on the ninth day before the calends of January. The same year Archbishop Ethelbert died at
York, and Eanbald was consecrated in his stead; Bishop Cynewulf retired to Holy-island; Elmund, Bishop of Hexham, died on the
seventh day before the ides of September, and Tilbert was consecrated in his stead, on the sixth day before the nones of
October; Hibbald was consecrated Bishop of Holy-island at Sockbury; and King Elwald sent to Rome for a pall in behoof of
A.D. 782. This year died Werburga, Queen of Ceolred, and Bishop Cynewulf, in Holy-island; and the same year there was a synod
A.D. 784. This year Cyneard slew King Cynewulf, and was slain himself, and eighty-four men with him. Then Bertric undertook
the government of the West-Saxons, and reigned sixteen years. His body is deposited at Wareham; and his pedigree goeth in a
direct line to Cerdic. At this time reigned Elmund king in Kent, the father of Egbert; and Egbert was the father of Athulf.
A.D. 785. This year died Bothwin, Abbot of Ripon, and a litigious synod was holden at Chalk-hythe; Archbishop Eanbert
resigned some part of his bishopric, Hibbert was appointed bishop by King Offa, and Everth was consecrated king. In the meantime
legates were sent from Rome to England by Pope Adrian, to renew the blessings of faith and peace which St. Gregory sent us by
the mission of Bishop Augustine, and they were received with every mark of honour and respect.
A.D. 787. This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to wife. And in his days came first three ships of the
Northmen from the land of robbers. The reve (30) then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king's town; for he knew
not what they were; and there was he slain. These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the land of the English
A.D. 788. This year there was a synod assembled at Fingall in Northumberland, on the fourth day before the nones of September;
and Abbot Albert departed this life.
A.D. 789. This year Elwald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by Siga, on the eleventh day before the calends of October; and
a heavenly light was often seen on the spot where he was slain.
He was buried in the church of Hexham; and Osred, the son of Alred, who was his nephew, succeeded him in the government. This ),ear
there was a synod assembled at Acley.
A.D. 790. This year Archbishop Eanbert died, and Abbot Ethelherd was chosen archbishop the same year. Osred, king of the
Northumbrians, was betrayed and banished from his kingdom, and Ethelred, the son of Ethelwald, succeeded him.
A.D. 791. This year Baldulf was consecrated Bishop of Whitern, on the sixteenth day before the calends of August, by Archbishop
Eanbald and Bishop Ethelbert.
A.D. 792. This year Offa, King of Mercia, commanded that King Ethelbert should be beheaded; and Osred, who had been king of
the Northumbrians, returning home after his exile, was apprehended and slain, on the eighteenth day before the calends of October.
His body is deposited at Tinemouth. Ethelred this year, on the third day before the calends of October, took unto himself a new
wife, whose name was Elfleda.
A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land
of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and
whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine:
and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made
lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter. Siga died on the eighth day before the calends
A.D. 794. This year died Pope Adrian; and also Offa, King of Mercia, on the fourth day before the ides of August, after he
had reigned forty winters. Ethelred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by his own people, on the thirteenth day before the calends
of May; in consequence of which, Bishops Ceolwulf and Eadbald retired from the land. Everth took to the government of
Mercia, and died the same year. Eadbert, whose other name was Pryn, obtained the kingdom of Kent; and Alderman Ethelherd died on the
calends of August. In the meantime, the heathen armies spread devastation among the Northumbrians, and plundered the monastery
of King Everth at the mouth of the Wear. There, however, some
of their leaders were slain; and some of their ships also were shattered to pieces by the violence of the weather; many of the
crew were drowned; and some, who escaped alive to the shore, were soon dispatched at the mouth of the river.
A.D. 795. This year was the moon eclipsed, between cock-crowing and dawn, (31) on the fifth day before the calends of April; and
Erdulf succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom on the second before the ides of May. He was afterwards consecrated and raised to
his throne, at York, on the seventh day before the calends of June, by Archbishop Eanbald, and Bishops
Ethelbert, Hibbald, and Baldulf.
A.D. 796. This year died Archbishop Eanbald, on the fourth day before the ides of August; and his body is deposited at York.
The same year also died Bishop Ceolwulf; and another Eanbald was consecrated to the see of the former, on the nineteenth day
before the calends of September. About the same time Cynewulf, King of Mercia, made inroads upon the inhabitants of Kent as far
as the marsh; and the Mercians seized Edbert Pryn, their king, led him bound into Mercia, and suffered men to pick out his eyes,
and cut off his hands. (32) And Ethelard, Archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod, wherein he ratified and confirmed, by
command of Pope Leo, all things concerning God's monasteries that were fixed in Witgar's days, and in other king's days, saying
thus: "I Ethelard, the humble Archbishop of Canterbury, with
the unanimous concurrence of the whole synod, and of all the congregations of all the minsters, to which in former days
freedom was given by faithful men, in God's name and by his terrible judgment do decree, as I have command from Pope Leo,
that henceforth none dare to choose them lords from lewd men over God's inheritance; but, as it is in the writ that the pope has
given, or holy men have settled, our fathers and our teachers, concerning holy minsters, so they continue untainted without any
resistance. If there is any man that will not observe this decree of God, of our pope, and of us, but overlooketh it, and
holdeth it for nought, let them know, that they shall give an account before the judgment-seat of God. And I
Ethelard, archbishop, with twelve bishops, and with three and twenty abbots, this same with the rood-token of Christ confirm and
[A.D. 796. This year Offa, king of the Mercians, died on the fourth before the kalends of August; he reigned forty years.]
A.D. 797. This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after,
by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope
as he was before. Eanbald also received the pall on the sixth day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the
third before the calends of November.
A.D. 798. This year a severe battle was fought in the Northumbrian territory, during Lent, on the fourth day before
the nones of April, at Whalley; wherein Alric, the son of Herbert, was slain, and many others with him.
A.D. 799. This year Archbishop Ethelbert, and Cynbert, Bishop
of Wessex, went to Rome. In the meantime Bishop Alfun died at Sudbury, and was buried at Dunwich. After him Tidfrith was
elected to the see; and Siric, king of the East Saxons, went to Rome. In this year the body of Witburga was found entire, and
free from decay, at Dercham, after a lapse of five and fifty years from the period of her decease.
A.D. 800. This year was the moon eclipsed, at eight in the evening, on the seventeenth day before the calends of February;
and soon after died King Bertric and Alderman Worr. Egbert succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom; and the same day Ethelmund,
alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford; where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of Wiltshire,
and a terrible conflict ensued, in which both the commanders were slain, but the men of Wiltshire obtained the victory.
[A.D. 801. This year Beornmod was ordained Bishop of Rochester.]
A.D. 802. This year was the moon eclipsed, at dawn, on the thirteenth day before the calends of January; and Bernmod was
consecrated Bishop of Rochester.
A.D. 803. This year died Hibbald, Bishop of Holy-island, on the twenty-fourth of June, and Egbert was consecrated in his stead,
on the thirteenth of June following. Archbishop Ethelherd also died in Kent, and Wulfred was chosen archbishop in his stead.
Abbot Forthred, in the course of the same year, departed this life.
A.D. 804. This year Archbishop Wulfred received his pall.
A.D. 805. This year died King Cuthred in Kent, and Abbess Colburga, and Alderman Herbert.
A.D. 806. This year was the moon eclipsed, on the first of September; Erdwulf, king of the Northumbrians, was banished from
his dominions; and Eanbert, Bishop of Hexham, departed this life. This year also, on the next day before the nones of June, a cross
was seen in the moon, on a Wednesday, at the dawn; and afterwards, during the same year, on the third day before the
calends of September, a wonderful circle was displayed about the sun.
A.D. 807. This year was the sun eclipsed, precisely at eleven
in the morning, on the seventeenth day before the calends of August.
A.D. 812. This year died the Emperor Charlemagne, after a reign of five and forty winters; and Archbishop Wulfred, accompanied
by Wigbert, Bishop of Wessex, undertook a journey to Rome.
A.D. 813. This year Archbishop Wulfred returned to his own see, with the blessing of Pope Leo; and King Egbert spread devastation
in Cornwall from east to west.
A.D. 814. This year died Leo, the noble and holy pope; and Stephen succeeded him in the papal government.
A.D. 816. This year died Pope Stephen; and Paschalis was consecrated pope after him. This same year the school of the
English nation at Rome was destroyed by fire.
A.D. 819. This year died Cenwulf, King of Mercia; and Ceolwulf (33) succeeded him. Alderman Eadbert also departed this life.
A.D. 821. This year Ceolwulf was deprived of his kingdom.
A.D. 822. This year two aldermen were slain, whose names were Burhelm and Mucca; and a synod was holden at Cliff's-Hoo.
A.D. 823. This year a battle was fought between the Welsh in Cornwall and the people of Devonshire, at Camelford; and in the
course of the same year Egbert, king of the West-Saxons, and Bernwulf, King of Mercia, fought a battle at Wilton, in which
Egbert gained the victory, but there was great slaughter on both sides. Then sent he his son Ethelwulf into Kent, with a large
detachment from the main body of the army, accompanied by his bishop, Elstan, and his alderman, Wulfherd; who drove Baldred,
the king, northward over the Thames. Whereupon the men of Kent immediately submitted to him; as did also the inhabitants of
Surrey, and Sussex, and Essex; who had been unlawfully kept from their allegiance by his relatives. The same year also, the king
of the East-Angles, and his subjects besought King Egbert to give them peace and protection against the terror of the Mercians;
whose king, Bernwulf, they slew in the course of the same year.
A.D. 825. This year Ludecan, King of Mercia, was slain, and his five aldermen with him; after which Wiglaf succeeded to the
A.D. 827. This year was the moon eclipsed, on mid-winter's mass- night; and King Egbert, in the course of the same year, conquered
the Mercian kingdom, and all that is south of the Humber, being the eighth king who was sovereign of all the British dominions.
Ella, king of the South-Saxons, was the first who possessed so large a territory; the second was Ceawlin, king of the West-
Saxons: the third was Ethelbert, King of Kent; the fourth was Redwald, king of the East-Angles; the fifth was Edwin, king of
the Northumbrians; the sixth was Oswald, who succeeded him; the seventh was Oswy, the brother of Oswald; the eighth was Egbert,
king of the West-Saxons. This same Egbert led an army against the Northumbrians as far as Dore, where they met him, and offered
terms of obedience and subjection, on the acceptance of which they returned home.
A.D. 828. This year Wiglaf recovered his Mercian kingdom, and Bishop Ethelwald departed this life. The same year King Egbert
led an army against the people of North-Wales, and compelled them all to peaceful submission.
A.D. 829. This year died Archbishop Wulfred; and Abbot Feologild was after him chosen to the see, on the twenty-fifth of April,
and consecrated on a Sunday, the eleventh of June. On the thirteenth of August he was dead!
A.D. 830. This year Ceolnoth was chosen and consecrated archbishop on the death of Abbot Feologild.
A.D. 831. This year Archbishop Ceolnoth received the pall.
A.D. 832. This year heathen men overran the Isle of Shepey.
A.D. 833. This year fought King Egbert with thirty-five pirates at Charmouth, where a great slaughter was made, and the Danes
remained masters of the field. Two bishops, Hereferth and Wigen, and two aldermen, Dudda and Osmod, died the same year.
A.D. 835. This year came a great naval armament into West-Wales, where they were joined by the people, who commenced war against
Egbert, the West-Saxon king. When he heard this, he proceeded with his army against them and fought with them at Hengeston,
where he put to flight both the Welsh and the Danes.
A.D. 836. This year died King Egbert. Him Offa, King of Mercia, and Bertric, the West-Saxon king, drove out of England into
France three years before he was king. Bertric assisted Offa because he had married his daughter. Egbert having afterwards
returned, reigned thirty-seven winters and seven months. Then Ethelwulf, the son of Egbert, succeeded to the West-Saxon
kingdom; and he gave his son Athelstan the kingdom of Kent, and of Essex, and of Surrey, and of Sussex.
A.D. 837. This year Alderman Wulfherd fought at Hamton with thirty-three pirates, and after great slaughter obtained the
victory, but he died the same year. Alderman Ethelhelm also, with the men of Dorsetshire, fought with the Danish army in
Portland-isle, and for a good while put them to flight; but in the end the Danes became masters of the field, and slew the
A.D. 838. This year Alderman Herbert was slain by the heathens, and many men with him, among the Marshlanders. The same year,
afterwards, in Lindsey, East-Anglia, and Kent, were many men
slain by the army.
A.D. 839. This year there was great slaughter in London, Canterbury, and Rochester.
A.D. 840. This year King Ethelwulf fought at Charmouth with thirty-five ship's-crews, and the Danes remained masters of the
place. The Emperor Louis died this year.
A.D. 845. This year Alderman Eanwulf, with the men of Somersetshire, and Bishop Ealstan, and Alderman Osric, with the
men of Dorsetshire, fought at the mouth of the Parret with the Danish army; and there, after making a great slaughter, obtained
A.D. 851. This year Alderman Ceorl, with the men of Devonshire, fought the heathen army at Wemburg, and after making great
slaughter obtained the victory. The same year King Athelstan
and Alderman Elchere fought in their ships, and slew a large army
at Sandwich in Kent, taking nine ships and dispersing the rest.
The heathens now for the first time remained over winter in the Isle of Thanet. The same year came three hundred and fifty ships into
the mouth of the Thames; the crew of which went upon land, and stormed Canterbury and London; putting to flight Bertulf, king
of the Mercians, with his army; and then marched southward over the Thames into Surrey. Here Ethelwulf and his son Ethelbald, at
the head of the West-Saxon army, fought with them at Ockley, and made the greatest slaughter of the heathen army that we have ever
heard reported to this present day. There also they obtained
A.D. 852. About this time Abbot Ceolred of Medhamsted, with the concurrence of the monks, let to hand the land of Sempringham
to Wulfred, with the provision, that after his demise the said land should revert to the monastery; that Wulfred should give the land
of Sleaford to Meohamsted, and should send each year into the monastery sixty loads of wood, twelve loads of coal, six loads
of peat, two tuns full of fine ale, two neats' carcases, six hundred loaves, and ten kilderkins of Welsh ale; one horse also each
year, and thirty shillings, and one night's entertainment. This agreement was made in the presence of King Burhred. Archbishop
Ceolnoth, Bishops Tunbert, Kenred, Aldhun, and Bertred; Abbots Witred and Weftherd, Aldermen Ethelherd and Hunbert, and many
A.D. 853. This year Burhred, King of Mercia, with his council, besought King Ethelwulf to assist him to subdue North-Wales.
He did so; and with an army marched over Mercia into North-Wales, and made all the inhabitants subject to him. The same year King
Ethelwulf sent his son Alfred to Rome; and Leo, who was then pope, consecrated him king, and adopted him as his spiritual son.
The same year also Elchere with the men of Kent, and Huda with the men of Surrey, fought in the Isle of Thanet with the heathen
army, and soon obtained the victory; but there were many men slain and drowned on either hand, and both the aldermen killed.
Burhred, the Mercian king, about this time received in marriage the daughter of Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons.
A.D. 854. This year the heathen men (34) for the first time remained over winter in the Isle of Shepey. The same year King
Ethelwulf registered a TENTH of his land over all his kingdom
for the honour of God and for his own everlasting salvation. The same year also he went to Rome with great pomp, and was resident
there a twelvemonth. Then he returned homeward; and Charles, king of the Franks, gave him his daughter, whose name was Judith,
to be his queen. After this he came to his people, and they were fain to receive him; but about two years after his residence
among the Franks he died; and his body lies at Winchester. He reigned eighteen years and a half. And Ethelwulf was the son
of Egbert, Egbert of Ealhmund, Ealhmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa, Eoppa of Ingild; Ingild was the brother of Ina, king of the
West-Saxons, who held that kingdom thirty-seven winters, and afterwards went to St. Peter, where he died. And they were the
sons of Cenred, Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cutha, Cutha of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Ceawlin, Ceawlin of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda,
Creoda of Cerdic, Cerdic of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wig, Wig of Freawine, Freawine of Frithugar, Frithugar
of Brond, Brond of Balday, Balday of Woden, Woden of Frithuwald, Frithuwald of Freawine, Freawine of Frithuwualf, Frithuwulf of
Finn, Finn of Godwulf, Godwulf of Great, Great of Taetwa, Taetwa of Beaw, Beaw of Sceldwa, Sceldwa of Heremod, Heremod of Itermon,
Itermon of Hathra, Hathra of Hwala, Hwala of Bedwig, Bedwig of Sceaf; that is, the son of Noah, who was born in Noah's ark:
Laznech, Methusalem, Enoh, Jared, Malalahel, Cainion, Enos, Seth, Adam the first man, and our Father, that is, Christ. Amen. Then
two sons of Ethelwulf succeeded to the kingdom; Ethelbald to Wessex, and Ethelbert to Kent, Essex, Surrey, and Sussex.
Ethelbald reigned five years. Alfred, his third son, Ethelwulf had sent to Rome; and when the pope heard say that he was dead,
he consecrated Alfred king, and held him under spiritual hands, as his father Ethelwulf had desired, and for which purpose he
had sent him thither.
[A.D. 855. And on his return homewards he took to (wife) the daughter of Charles, king of the French, whose name was Judith,
and he came home safe. And then in about two years he died, and his body lies at Winchester: and he reigned eighteen years and
a half, and he was the son of Egbert. And then his two sons succeeded to the kingdom; Ethelbald to the kingdom of the
West-Saxons, and Ethelbert to the kingdom of the Kentish-men,
and of the East-Saxons, and of Surrey, and of the South-Saxons. And he reigned five years.]
A.D. 860. This year died King Ethelbald, and his body lies at Sherborn. Ethelbert his brother then succeeded to the whole
kingdom, and held it in good order and great tranquillity. In his days came a large naval force up into the country, and
stormed Winchester. But Alderman Osric, with the command of Hampshire, and Alderman Ethelwulf, with the command of Berkshire,
fought against the enemy, and putting them to flight, made themselves masters of the field of battle. The said Ethelbert
reigned five years, and his body lies at Sherborn.
A.D. 861. This year died St. Swithun, bishop.
A.D. 865. This year sat the heathen army in the isle of Thanet, and made peace with the men of Kent, who promised money
therewith; but under the security of peace, and the promise of money, the army in the night stole up the country, and overran
all Kent eastward.
A.D. 866. This year Ethered, (35) brother of Ethelbert, took
to the West-Saxon government; and the same year came a large heathen army into England, and fixed their winter-quarters in East-
Anglia, where they were soon horsed; and the inhabitants made peace with them.
A.D. 867. This year the army went from the East-Angles over the mouth of the Humber to the Northumbrians, as far as York. And
there was much dissension in that nation among themselves; they had deposed their king Osbert, and had admitted Aella, who had
no natural claim. Late in the year, however, they returned to their allegiance, and they were now fighting against the common enemy;
having collected a vast force, with which they fought the army
at York; and breaking open the town, some of them entered in. Then was there an immense slaughter of the Northumbrians, some within
and some without; and both the kings were slain on the spot.
The survivors made peace with the army. The same year died Bishop Ealstan, who had the bishopric of Sherborn fifty winters, and
his body lies in the town.
A.D. 868. This year the same army went into Mercia to Nottingham, and there fixed their winter-quarters; and Burhred,
king of the Mercians, with his council, besought Ethered, king
of the West-Saxons, and Alfred, his brother; that they would assist them in fighting against the army. And they went with the West-
Saxon army into Mercia as far as Nottingham, and there meeting the army on the works, they beset them within. But there was
no heavy fight; for the Mercians made peace with the army.
A.D. 869. This year the army went back to York, and sat there
A.D. 870. This year the army rode over Mercia into East-Anglia, and there fixed their winter-quarters at Thetford. And in the
winter King Edmund fought with them; but the Danes gained the victory, and slew the king; whereupon they overran all that land,
and destroyed all the monasteries to which they came. The names of the leaders who slew the king were Hingwar and Hubba. At the
same time came they to Medhamsted, burning and breaking, and slaying abbot and monks, and all that they there found. They
made such havoc there, that a monastery, which was before full rich, was now reduced to nothing. The same year died Archbishop
Ceolnoth; and Ethered, Bishop of Witshire, was chosen Archbishop of Canterbury.
A.D. 871. This year came the army to Reading in Wessex; and in the course of three nights after rode two earls up, who were met
by Alderman Ethelwulf at Englefield; where he fought with them, and obtained the victory. There one of them was slain, whose
name was Sidrac. About four nights after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother led their main army to Reading, where they
fought with the enemy; and there was much slaughter on either hand, Alderman Ethelwulf being among the skain; but the Danes
kept possession of the field. And about four nights after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with all the army on
Ashdown, and the Danes were overcome. They had two heathen kings, Bagsac and Healfden, and many earls; and they were in two
divisions; in one of which were Bagsac and Healfden, the heathen kings, and in the other were the earls. King Ethered therefore
fought with the troops of the kings, and there was King Bagsac slain; and Alfred his brother fought with the troops of the
earls, and there were slain Earl Sidrac the elder, Earl Sidrac the younger, Earl Osbern, Earl Frene, and Earl Harold. They
put both the troops to flight; there were many thousands of the slain, and they continued fighting till night. Within a
fortnight of this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with the army at Basing; and there the Danes had the victory.
About two months after this, King Ethered and Alfred his brother fought with the army at Marden. They were in two divisions; and
they put them both to flight, enjoying the victory for some time during the day; and there was much slaughter on either hand; but
the Danes became masters of the field; and there was slain Bishop Heahmund, with many other good men. After this fight came a vast
army in the summer to Reading. And after the Easter of this year died King Ethered. He reigned five years, and his body lies at
Winburn-minster. Then Alfred, his brother, the son of Ethelwulf, took to the kingdom of Wessex. And within a month of this, King
Alfred fought against all the Army with a small force at Wilton, and long pursued them during the day; but the Danes got
possession of the field. This year were nine general battles fought with the army in the kingdom south of the Thames; besides
those skirmishes, in which Alfred the king's brother, and every single alderman, and the thanes of the king, oft rode against
them; which were accounted nothing. This year also were slain nine earls, and one king; and the same year the West-Saxons made
peace with the army.
[A.D. 871. And the Danish-men were overcome; and they had two heathen kings, Bagsac and Halfdene, and many earls; and there
was King Bagsac slain, and these earls; Sidrac the elder, and also Sidrac the younger, Osbern, Frene, and Harold; and the army was
put to flight.]
A.D. 872. This year went the army to London from Reading, and there chose their winter-quarters. Then the Mercians made peace
with the army.
A.D. 873. This year went the army against the Northumbrians,
and fixed their winter-quarters at Torksey in Lindsey. And the Mercians again made peace with the army.
A.D. 874. This year went the army from Lindsey to Repton, and there took up their winter-quarters, drove the king, Burhred,
over sea, when he had reigned about two and twenty winters, and subdued all that land. He then went to Rome, and there remained
to the end of his life. And his body lies in the church of Sancta Maria, in the school of the English nation. And the same
year they gave Ceolwulf, an unwise king's thane, the Mercian kingdom to hold; and he swore oaths to them, and gave hostages,
that it should be ready for them on whatever day they would have it; and he would be ready with himself, and with all those that
would remain with him, at the service of the army.
(27) Beorgforda, Ethelw.; Beorhtforda, Flor.; Hereford and
Bereford, H. Hunt; Beorford, M. West. This battle of Burford has been considerably amplified
by Henry of Huntingdon, and after him by Matthew of Westminster. The former, among other
absurdities, talks of "Amazonian" battle-axes. They both mention the banner of
the "golden dragon" etc.
(28) The minuteness of this narrative, combined with the simplicity of it, proves that it
was written at no great distance of time from the event. It is the first that occurs of any
length in the older MSS. of the "Saxon Chronicle".
(29) Penga in the original, i.e. "of pence", or "in pence"; because the
silver penny, derived from the Roman "denarius", was the standard coin in this
country for more than a thousand years. It was also used as a weight, being the twentieth
part of an ounce.
(30) Since called "sheriff"; i.e. the reve, or steward, of the shire. "Exactor
regis". -- Ethelw.
(31) This is the Grecian method of computation; between the hours of three and six in the
morning. It must be recollected, that before the distribution of time into hours, minutes,
and seconds, the day and night were divided into eight equal portions, containing three hours
each; and this method was continued long afterwards by historians.
(32) This wanton act of barbarity seems to have existed only in the depraved imagination of
the Norman interpolator of the "Saxon Annals", who eagerly and impatiently dispatches
the story thus, in order to introduce the subsequent account of the synod at Bapchild, so
important in his eyes. Hoveden and Wallingford and others have repeated the idle tale; but
I have not hitherto found it in any historian of authority.
(33) St. Kenelm is said to have succeeded Cenwulf: "In the foure and twentithe yere of his
kyngdom Kenulf wente out of this worlde, and to the joye of hevene com; It was after that oure
Lord in his moder alygte Eigte hondred yet and neygentene, by a countes rigte, Seint Kenelm
his yonge sone in his sevende yere Kyng was ymad after him, theg he yong were." --
"Vita S. Kenelmi, MS. Coll. Trin Oxon." No. 57.Arch.
(34) i.e. the Danes; or, as they are sometimes called, Northmen, which is a general term
including all those numerous tribes that issued at different times from the north of Europe,
whether Danes, Norwegians, Sweons, Jutes, or Goths, etc.; who were all in a state of paganism
at this time.
(35) Aetheredus, -- Asser, Ethelwerd, etc. We have therefore adopted this orthography.