The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Part 4: 875 - 919
A.D. 875. This year went the army from Repton; and Healfden advanced with some of the army against the Northumbrians, and
fixed his winter-quarters by the river Tine. The army then subdued that land, and oft invaded the Picts and the
Strathclydwallians. Meanwhile the three kings, Guthrum, Oskytel, and Anwind, went from Repton to Cambridge with a vast army, and
sat there one year. This summer King Alfred went out to sea with an armed fleet, and fought with seven ship-rovers, one of whom
he took, and dispersed the others.
A.D. 876. This year Rolla penetrated Normandy with his army;
and he reigned fifty winters. And this year the army stole into Wareham, a fort of the West-Saxons. The king afterwards made
peace with them; and they gave him as hostages those who were worthiest in the army; and swore with oaths on the holy bracelet,
which they would not before to any nation, that they would readily go out of his kingdom. Then, under colour of this, their
cavalry stole by night into Exeter. The same year Healfden divided the land of the Northumbrians; so that they became
afterwards their harrowers and plowers.
[A.D. 876. And in this same year the army of the Danes in England swore oaths to King Alfred upon the holy ring, which
before they would not do to any nation; and they delivered to
the king hostages from among the most distinguished men of the army, that they would speedily depart from his kingdom; and that by
night they broke.]
A.D. 877. This year came the Danish army into Exeter from Wareham; whilst the navy sailed west about, until they met with
a great mist at sea, and there perished one hundred and twenty ships at Swanwich. (36) Meanwhile King Alfred with his army rodeafter the cavalry as far as Exeter; but he could not overtake
them before their arrival in the fortress, where they could not be come at. There they gave him as many hostages as he required,
swearing with solemn oaths to observe the strictest amity. In the harvest the army entered Mercia; some of which they divided
among them, and some they gave to Ceolwulf.
A.D. 878. This year about mid-winter, after twelfth-night, the Danish army stole out to Chippenham, and rode over the land of
the West-Saxons; where they settled, and drove many of the people over sea; and of the rest the greatest part they rode down, and
subdued to their will; -- ALL BUT ALFRED THE KING. He, with a little band, uneasily sought the woods and fastnesses of the
moors. And in the winter of this same year the brother of Ingwar and Healfden landed in Wessex, in Devonshire, with three
and twenty ships, and there was he slain, and eight hundred men with him, and forty of his army. There also was taken the war-flag, which they called the RAVEN. In the Easter of this year
King Alfred with his little force raised a work at Athelney; from which he assailed the army, assisted by that part of
Somersetshire which was nighest to it. Then, in the seventh week after Easter, he rode to Brixton by the eastern side of Selwood;
and there came out to meet him all the people of Somersersetshire, and Wiltshire, and that part of Hampshire which
is on this side of the sea; and they rejoiced to see him. Then within one night he went from this retreat to Hey; and within
one night after he proceeded to Heddington; and there fought with
all the army, and put them to flight, riding after them as far as
the fortress, where he remained a fortnight. Then the army gave him hostages with many oaths, that they would go out of his kingdom.
They told him also, that their king would receive baptism. And they acted accordingly; for in the course of three weeks after,
King Guthrum, attended by some thirty of the worthiest men that were in the army, came to him at Aller, which is near Athelney,
and there the king became his sponsor in baptism; and his crisom-leasing was at Wedmor. He was there twelve nights with
the king, who honoured him and his attendants with many presents.
A.D. 879. This year went the army from Chippenham to Cirencester, and sat there a year. The same year assembled a
band of pirates, and sat at Fulham by the Thames. The same year also the sun was eclipsed one hour of the day.
A.D. 880. This year went the army from Cirencester into East-Anglia, where they settled, and divided the land. The same year
went the army over sea, that before sat at Fulham, to Ghent in Frankland, and sat there a year.
A.D. 881. This year went the army higher up into Frankland, and the Franks fought with them; and there was the army horsed after
A.D. 882. This year went the army up along the Maese far into Frankland, and there sat a year; and the same year went King
Alfred out to sea with a fleet; and fought with four ship-rovers of the Danes, and took two of their ships; wherein all the men
were slain; and the other two surrendered; but the men were severely cut and wounded ere they surrendered.
A.D. 883. This year went the army up the Scheldt to Conde, and there sat a year. And Pope Marinus sent King Alfred the "lignum
Domini". The same year led Sighelm and Athelstan to Rome
the alms which King Alfred ordered thither, and also in India to St. Thomas and to St. Bartholomew. Then they sat against the army
at London; and there, with the favour of God, they were very successful after the performance of their vows.
A.D. 884. This year went the army up the Somne to Amiens, and there remained a year. This year died the benevolent Bishop
A.D. 885. This year separated the before-mentioned army in two; one part east, another to Rochester. This city they surrounded,
and wrought another fortress around themselves. The people, however, defended the city, until King Alfred came out with his
army. Then went the enemy to their ships, and forsook their work. There were they provided with horses; and soon after, in
the same summer, they went over sea again. The same year sent King Alfred a fleet from Kent into East-Anglia. As soon as they
came to Stourmouth, there met them sixteen ships of the pirates. And they fought with them, took all the ships, and slew the men.
As they returned homeward with their booty, they met a large fleet of the pirates, and fought with them the same day; but the
Danes had the victory. The same year, ere midwinter, died Charles, king of the Franks. He was slain by a boar; and one
year before his brother died, who had also the Western kingdom. They were both the sons of Louis, who also had the Western
kingdom, and died the same year that the sun was eclipsed. He was the son of that Charles whose daughter Ethelwulf, king of
the West-Saxons, had to wife. And the same year collected a great fleet against Old-Saxony; and there was a great fight twice in
the year, and the Saxons had the victory. There were the Frieslanders with them. And the same year succeeded Charles to
the Western kingdom, and to all the territory this side of the Mediterranean and beyond, as his great-grandfather held it,
except the Lidwiccians. The said Charles was the son of Louis, who was the brother of that Charles who was the father of Judith,
whom Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, married. They were the sons of Louis, who was the son of the elder Charles, who was the
son of Pepin. The same year died the good Pope Martin, who freed the English school at the request of Alfred, king of the
West-Saxons. And he sent him great gifts in relics, and a part of the rood on which Christ suffered. And the same year the army
in East-Anglia brake the truce with King Alfred.
A.D. 886. This year went the army back again to the west, that before were bent eastward; and proceeding upwards along the
Seine, fixed their winter-quarters in the city of Paris. (37) The same year also King Alfred fortified the city of London; and
the whole English nation turned to him, except that part of it which was held captive by the Danes. He then committed the city
to the care of Alderman Ethered, to hold it under him.
A.D. 887. This year the army advanced beyond the bridge at Paris; (38) and then upwards, along the Seine, to the Marne.
Then upwards on the Marne as far as Chezy; and in their two stations, there and on the Yonne, they abode two winters. This
same year died Charles, king of the Franks. Arnulf, his brother's son, had six weeks before his death bereft him of his
kingdom; which was now divided into five portions, and five kings were consecrated thereto. This, however, was done with the
consent of Arnulf; and they agreed that they should hold in subjection to him; because none of them had by birth any claim
on the father's side, except him alone. Arnulf, therefore, dwelt
in the country eastward of the Rhine; Rodulf took to the middle district; Oda to the western; whilst Berenger and Witha became
masters of Lombardy and the Cisalpine territory. But they held their dominion in great discord; fought two general battles, and
frequently overran the country in partial encounters, displacing each other several times. The same year also, in which the
Danish army advanced beyond the bridge at Paris, Alderman Ethelhelm led the alms of the West-Saxons and of King Alfred to
A.D. 888. This year Alderman Beeke conducted the alms of the West-Saxons and of King Alfred to Rome; but Queen Ethelswith,
who was the sister of King Alfred, died on the way to Rome; and her body lies at Pavia. The same year also Ethered, Archbishop of
Canterbury and Alderman Ethelwold, died in one month.
A.D. 889. This year there was no journey to Rome; except that King Alfred sent two messengers with letters.
A.D. 890. This year Abbot Bernhelm conducted the alms of the West-Saxons and of King Alfred to Rome; and Guthrum, king of the
Northern men, departed this life, whose baptismal name was Athelstan. He was the godson of King Alfred; and he abode among
the East-Angles, where he first established a settlement. The same year also went the army from the Seine to Saint Lo, which
is between the Bretons and the Franks; where the Bretons fought with them, obtained the victory, and drove them out into a river, in
which many of them were drowned. This year also was Plegmund
chosen by God and all his saints to the archbishopric in Canterbury.
A.D. 891. This year went the army eastward; and King Arnulf fought with the land-force, ere the ships arrived, in conjunction
with the eastern Franks, and Saxons, and Bavarians, and put them to flight. And three Scots came to King Alfred in a boat without
any oars from Ireland; whence they stole away, because they would live in a state of pilgrimage, for the love of God, they recked
not where. The boat in which they came was made of two hides
and a half; and they took with them provisions for seven nights; and within seven nights they came to land in Cornwall, and soon after
went to King Alfred. They were thus named: Dubslane, and Macbeth, and Maelinmun. And Swinney, the best teacher that was
among the Scots, departed this life. And the same year after Easter, about the gang-days or before, appeared the star that
men in book-Latin call "cometa": some men say that in English
it may be termed "hairy star"; for that there standeth off
from it a long gleam of light, whilom on one side, whilom on each.
A.D. 893. This year went the large army, that we before spoke about, back from the eastern district westward to Bologne; and
there were shipped; so that they transported themselves over at one time with their horses withal. And they came up with two
hundred and fifty ships into the mouth of the Limne, which is
in East-Kent, at the east end of the vast wood that we call Andred. This wood is in length, east and west, one hundred and twenty
miles, or longer, and thirty miles broad. The river that we before spoke about lieth out of the weald. On this river they
towed up their ships as far as the weald, four miles from the mouth outwards; and there destroyed a fort within the fen,
whereon sat a few churls, and which was hastily wrought. Soon after this came Hasten up with eighty ships into the mouth of
the Thames, and wrought him there a work at Milton, and the other army at Appledore.
A.D. 894. This year, that was about twelve months after they
had wrought a work in the eastern district, the Northumbrians and East-Angles had given oaths to King Alfred, and the East-Angles
six hostages; nevertheless, contrary to the truce, as oft as the other plunderers went out with all their army, then went they
also, either with them, or in a separate division. Upon this King Alfred gathered his army, and advanced, so that he encamped
between the two armies at the highest point he could find defended by wood and by water, that he might reach either, if
they would seek any field. Then went they forth in quest of the wealds, in troops and companies, wheresoever the country was
defenceless. But they were also sought after most days by other companies, either by day or by night, both from the army and also
from the towns. The king had divided his army into two parts;
so that they were always half at home, half out; besides the men that should maintain the towns. The army came not all out of
their stations more than twice; once, when they first came to land, ere the forces were collected, and again, when they wished
to depart from their stations. They had now seized much booty, and would ferry it northward over Thames into Essex, to meet
their ships. But the army rode before them, fought with them
at Farnham, routed their forces, and there arrested the booty. And they flew over Thames without any ford, then up by the Colne on
an island. Then the king's forces beset them without as long
as they had food; but they had their time set, and their meat noted. And the king was advancing thitherwards on his march with the
division that accompanied him. But while he was advancing thitherwards, the other force was returning homewards. The
Danes, however, still remained behind; for their king was wounded in the fight, so that they could not carry him. Then collected
together those that dwell in Northumbria and East-Anglia about
a hundred ships, and went south about; and with some forty more went north about, and besieged a fort in Devonshire by the north
sea; and those who went south about beset Exeter. When the king heard that, then went he west towards Exeter with all his force,
except a very considerable part of the eastern army, who advanced till they came to London; and there being joined by the citizens
and the reinforcements that came from the west, they went east
to Barnfleet. Hasten was there with his gang, who before were stationed at Milton, and also the main army had come thither,
that sat before in the mouth of the Limne at Appledore. Hasten had formerly constructed that work at Barnfleet, and was then
gone out on plunder, the main army being at home. Then came the king's troops, and routed the enemy, broke down the work, took
all that was therein money, women, and children and brought all to London. And all the ships they either broke to pieces, or
burned, or brought to London or to Rochester. And Hasten's wife and her two sons they brought to the king, who returned them to
him, because one of them was his godson, and the other Alderman Ethered's. They had adopted them ere Hasten came to Bamfleet;
when he had given them hostages and oaths, and the king had also given him many presents; as he did also then, when he returned
the child and the wife. And as soon as they came to Bamfleet, and the work was built, then plundered he in the same quarter
of his kingdom that Ethered his compeer should have held; and at another time he was plundering in the same district when his work
was destroyed. The king then went westward with the army toward Exeter, as I before said, and the army had beset the city; but
whilst he was gone they went to their ships. Whilst he was thus busied there with the army, in the west, the marauding parties
were both gathered together at Shobury in Essex, and there built a fortress. Then they both went together up by the Thames, and
a great concourse joined them, both from the East-Angles and from the Northumbrians. They then advanced upward by the Thames, till
they arrived near the Severn. Then they proceeded upward by the Severn. Meanwhile assembled Alderman Ethered, Alderman Ethelm,
Alderman Ethelnoth, and the king's thanes, who were employed at home at the works, from every town east of the Parret, as well
as west of Selwood, and from the parts east and also north of the Thames and west of the Severn, and also some part of North-Wales.
When they were all collected together, they overtook the rear
of the enemy at Buttington on the banks of the Severn, and there beset them without on each side in a fortress. When they had
sat there many weeks on both sides of the water, and the king meanwhile was in Devonshire westward with the naval force, then
were the enemy weighed down with famine. They had devoured the greater part of their horses; and the rest had perished with
hunger. Then went they out to the men that sat on the eastern side of the river, and fought with them; but the Christians had
the victory. And there Ordhelm, the king's thane, was slain;
and also many other king's thanes; and of the Danes there were many slain, and that part of them that came away escaped only by
flight. As soon as they came into Essex to their fortress, and to their ships, then gathered the remnant again in East-Anglia
and from the Northumbrians a great force before winter, and having committed their wives and their ships and their booty to
the East-Angles, they marched on the stretch by day and night, till they arrived at a western city in Wirheal that is called
Chester. There the army could not overtake them ere they arrived within the work: they beset the work though, without, some two
days, took all the cattle that was thereabout, slew the men whom they could overtake without the work, and all the corn they
either burned or consumed with their horses every evening. That was about a twelvemonth since they first came hither over sea.
A.D. 895. Soon after that, in this year, went the army from Wirheal into North-Wales; for they could not remain there,
because they were stripped both of the cattle and the corn that they had acquired by plunder. When they went again out of North-Wales with the booty they had acquired there, they marched over
Northumberland and East-Anglia, so that the king's army could
not reach them till they came into Essex eastward, on an island that is out at sea, called Mersey. And as the army returned homeward
that had beset Exeter, they went up plundering in Sussex nigh Chichester; but the townsmen put them to flight, and slew many
hundreds of them, and took some of their ships. Then, in the same year, before winter, the Danes, who abode in Mersey, towed
their ships up on the Thames, and thence up the Lea. That was about two years after that they came hither over sea.
A.D. 896. This same year wrought the aforesaid army a work by the Lea, twenty miles above the city of London. Then. in the
summer of this year, went a large party of the citizens. and also of other folk, and made an attack on the work of the Danes; but
they were there routed, and some four of the king's thanes were slain. In the harvest afterward the king encamped close to the
city, whilst they reaped their corn, that the Danes might not deprive them of the crop. Then, some day, rode the king up by
the river; and observed a place where the river might be obstructed, so that they could not bring out their ships. And
they did so. They wrought two works on the two sides of the river. And when they had begun the work, and encamped before
it, then understood the army that they could not bring out their ships. Whereupon they left them, and went over land, till they
came to Quatbridge by Severn; and there wrought a work. Then rode the king's army westward after the enemy. And the men of
London fetched the ships; and all that they could not lead away they broke up; but all that were worthy of capture they brought
into the port of London. And the Danes procured an asylum for their wives among the East-Angles, ere they went out of the fort.
During the winter they abode at Quatbridge. That was about three years since they came hither over sea into the mouth of the
A.D. 897. In the summer of this year went the army, some into East-Anglia, and some into Northumbria; and those that were
penniless got themselves ships, and went south over sea to the Seine. The enemy had not, thank God. entirely destroyed the
English nation; but they were much more weakened in these three years by the disease of cattle, and most of all of men; so that
many of the mightiest of the king's thanes. that were in the land, died within the three years. Of these. one was Swithulf
Bishop of Rochester, Ceolmund alderman in Kent, Bertulf alderman in Essex, Wulfred alderman in Hampshire, Elhard Bishop of
Dorchester, Eadulf a king's thane in Sussex, Bernuff governor
of Winchester, and Egulf the king's horse-thane; and many also with them; though I have named only the men of the highest rank. This
same year the plunderers in East-Anglia and Northumbria greatly harassed the land of the West-Saxons by piracies on the southern
coast, but most of all by the esks which they built many years before. Then King Alfred gave orders for building long ships
against the esks, which were full-nigh twice as long as the others. Some had sixty oars, some more; and they were both
swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others. They were not shaped either after the Frisian or the Danish model, but so
as he himself thought that they might be most serviceable. Then, at a certain turn of this same year, came six of their ships to
the Isle of Wight; and going into Devonshire, they did much mischief both there and everywhere on the seacoast. Then
commanded the king his men to go out against them with nine of the new ships, and prevent their escape by the mouth of the river
to the outer sea. Then came they out against them with three ships, and three others were standing upwards above the mouth
on dry land: for the men were gone off upon shore. Of the first three ships they took two at the mouth outwards, and slew the
men; the third veered off, but all the men were slain except five; and they too were severely wounded. Then came onward those
who manned the other ships, which were also very uneasily situated. Three were stationed on that side of the deep where
the Danish ships were aground, whilst the others were all on the opposite side; so that none of them could join the rest; for the
water had ebbed many furlongs from them. Then went the Danes from their three ships to those other three that were on their
side, be-ebbed; and there they then fought. There were slain Lucomon, the king's reve, and Wulfheard, a Frieslander; Ebb, a
Frieslander, and Ethelere, a Frieslander; and Ethelferth, the king's neat-herd; and of all the men, Frieslanders and English,
sixty-two; of the Danes a hundred and twenty. The tide, however, reached the Danish ships ere the Christians could shove theirs
out; whereupon they rowed them out; but they were so crippled, that they could not row them beyond the coast of Sussex: there
two of them the sea drove ashore; and the crew were led to Winchester to the king, who ordered them to be hanged. The men
who escaped in the single ship came to East-Anglia, severely wounded. This same year were lost no less than twenty ships,
and the men withal, on the southern coast. Wulfric, the king's horse-thane, who was also viceroy of Wales, died the same year.
A.D. 898. This year died Ethelm, alderman of Wiltshire, nine nights before midsummer; and Heahstan, who was Bishop of London.
A.D. 901. This year died ALFRED, the son of Ethelwulf, six nights before the mass of All Saints. He was king over all the
English nation, except that part that was under the power of the Danes. He held the government one year and a half less than
thirty winters; and then Edward his son took to the government. Then Prince Ethelwald, the son of his paternal uncle, rode
against the towns of Winburn and of Twineham, without leave of the king and his council. Then rode the king with his army; so
that he encamped the same night at Badbury near Winburn; and Ethelwald remained within the town with the men that were under
him, and had all the gates shut upon him, saying, that he would either there live or there die. But in the meantime he stole
away in the night, and sought the army in Northumberland. The king gave orders to ride after him; but they were not able to
overtake him. The Danes, however, received him as their king. They then rode after the wife that Ethelwald had taken without
the king's leave, and against the command of the bishops; for
she was formerly consecrated a nun. In this year also died Ethered, who was alderman of Devonshire, four weeks before King Alfred.
A.D. 902. This year was the great fight at the Holme (39) between the men of Kent and the Danes.
[A.D. 902. This year Elswitha died.]
A.D. 903. This year died Alderman Ethelwulf, the brother of Elhswitha, mother of King Edward; and Virgilius abbot of the
Scots; and Grimbald the mass-priest; on the eighth day of July. This same year was consecrated the new minster at Winchester,
on St. Judoc's advent.
A.D. 904. This year came Ethelwald hither over sea with all the fleet that he could get, and he was submitted to in Essex. This
year the moon was eclipsed.
A.D. 905. This year Ethelwald enticed the army in East-Anglia
to rebellion; so that they overran all the land of Mercia, until they came to Cricklade, where they forded the Thames; and having
seized, either in Bradon or thereabout, all that they could lay their hands upon, they went homeward again. King Edward went
after, as soon as he could gather his army, and overran all their land between the foss and the Ouse quite to the fens northward.
Then being desirous of returning thence, he issued an order through the whole army, that they should all go out at once.
But the Kentish men remained behind, contrary to his order, though
he had sent seven messengers to them. Whereupon the army surrounded them, and there they fought. There fell Aldermen Siwulf and
Sigelm; Eadwold, the king's thane; Abbot Kenwulf; Sigebriht, the son of Siwulf; Eadwald, the son of Acca; and many also with them;
though I have named the most considerable. On the Danish side were slain Eohric their king, and Prince Ethelwald, who had
enticed them to the war. Byrtsige, the son of Prince Brihtnoth; Governor Ysop; Governor Oskytel; and very many also with them
that we now cannot name. And there was on either hand much slaughter made; but of the Danes there were more slain, though
they remained masters of the field. Ealswitha died this same year; and a comet appeared on the thirteenth day before the
calends of November.
[A.D. 906. This year King Edward, from necessity, concluded
a peace both with the army of East-Anglia and of North-humbria.]
A.D. 907. This year died Alfred, who was governor of Bath. The same year was concluded the peace at Hitchingford, as King Edward
decreed, both with the Danes of East-Anglia, and those of Northumberland; and Chester was rebuilt.
A.D. 909. This year died Denulf, who was Bishop of Winchester; and the body of St. Oswald was translated from Bardney into
A.D. 910. This year Frithestan took to the bishopric of Winchester; and Asser died soon after, who was Bishop
of Sherborne. The same year King Edward sent an army both from Wessex and Mercia, which very much harassed the northern army
by their attacks on men and property of every kind. They slew many of the Danes, and remained in the country five weeks. This year
the Angles and the Danes fought at Tootenhall; and the Angles
had the victory. The same year Ethelfleda built the fortress at Bramsbury.
[A.D. 910. This year the army of the Angles and of the Danes fought at Tootenhall. And Ethelred, ealdor of the Mercians,
died; and King Edward took possession of London, and of Oxford, and of all the lands which owed obedience thereto. And a great
fleet came hither from the south, from the Lidwiccas (Brittany), and greatly ravaged by the Severn; but they were, afterwards,
almost all perished.]
A.D. 911. This year the army in Northumberland broke the truce, and despised every right that Edward and his son demanded of
them; and plundered the land of the Mercians. The king had gathered together about a hundred ships, and was then in Kent
while the ships were sailing along sea by the south-east to meet him. The army therefore supposed that the greatest part of his
force was in the ships, and that they might go, without being attacked, where that ever they would. When the king learned on
enquiry that they were gone out on plunder, he sent his army both from Wessex and Mercia; and they came up with the rear of the
enemy as he was on his way homeward, and there fought with him and put him to flight, and slew many thousands of his men. There
fell King Eowils, and King Healfden; Earls Ohter and Scurf; Governors Agmund, Othulf, and Benesing; Anlaf the Swarthy, and
Governor Thunferth; Osferth the collector, and Governor Guthferth.
[A.D. 911. Then the next year after this died Ethelred, lord
of the Mercians.]
A.D. 912. This year died Ethered, alderman of Mercia; and King Edward took to London, and to Oxford, and to all the lands that
thereunto belonged. This year also came Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, on the holy eve called the invention of the holy cross,
to Shergate, and built the fortress there, and the same year that at Bridgenorth.
A.D. 913. This year, about Martinmas, King Edward had the northern fortress built at Hertford, betwixt the Memer, and the
Benwic, and the Lea. After this, in the summer, betwixt gang- days and midsummer, went King Edward with some of his force into
Essex, to Maldon; and encamped there the while that men built
and fortified the town of Witham. And many of the people submitted to him, who were before under the power of the Danes. And some
of his force, meanwhile, built the fortress at Hertford on the south side of the Lea. This year by the permission of God went
Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, with all the Mercians to Tamworth; and built the fort there in the fore-part of the summer; and
before Lammas that at Stafford: in the next year that at Eddesbury, in the beginning of the summer; and the same year,
late in the autumn, that at Warwick. Then in the following year was built, after mid-winter, that at Chirbury and that at
Warburton; and the same year before mid-winter that at Runkorn.
[A.D. 915. This year was Warwick built.]
A.D. 916. This year was the innocent Abbot Egbert slain, before midsummer, on the sixteenth day before the calends of July. The
same day was the feast of St. Ciricius the martyr, with his companions. And within three nights sent Ethelfleda an army into
Wales, and stormed Brecknock; and there took the king's wife, with some four and thirty others.
A.D. 917. This year rode the army, after Easter, out of Northampton and Leicester; and having broken the truce they slew
many men at Hookerton and thereabout. Then, very soon after this, as the others came home, they found other troops that were
riding out against Leighton. But the inhabitants were aware of it; and having fought with them they put them into full flight;
and arrested all that they had taken, and also of their horses and of their weapons a good deal.
A.D. 918. This year came a great naval armament over hither south from the Lidwiccians; (40) and two earls with it, Ohter
and Rhoald. They went then west about, till they entered the mouth of the Severn; and plundered in North-Wales everywhere by the
sea, where it then suited them; and took Camlac the bishop in Archenfield, and led him with them to their ships; whom King
Edward afterwards released for forty pounds. After this went
the army all up; and would proceed yet on plunder against Archenfield; but the men of Hertford met them, and of Glocester,
and of the nighest towns; and fought with them, and put them to flight; and they slew the Earl Rhoald, and the brother of Ohter
the other earl, and many of the army. And they drove them into
a park; and beset them there without, until they gave them hostages, that they would depart from the realm of King Edward.
And the king had contrived that a guard should be set against them on the south side of Severnmouth; west from Wales, eastward
to the mouth of the Avon; so that they durst nowhere seek that land on that side. Nevertheless, they eluded them at night, by
stealing up twice; at one time to the east of Watchet, and at another time at Porlock. There was a great slaughter each time;
so that few of them came away, except those only who swam out
to the ships. Then sat they outward on an island, called the Flat-holms; till they were very short of meat, and many men died of
hunger, because they could not reach any meat. Thence went they to Dimmet, and then out to Ireland. This was in harvest. After
this, in the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward to Buckingham with his army, and sat there four weeks, during which
he built the two forts on either side of the water, ere he departed thence. And Earl Thurkytel sought him for his lord; and
all the captains, and almost all the first men that belonged to Bedford; and also many of those that belonged to Northampton.
This year Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, with the help of God, before Laminas, conquered the town called Derby, with all that
thereto belonged; and there were also slain four of her thanes, that were most dear to her, within the gates.
[A.D. 918. But very shortly after they had become so, she died at Tamworth, twelve days before midsummer, the eighth year of
her having rule and right lordship over the Mercians; and her body lies at Gloucester, within the east porch of St. Peter's
A.D. 919. This year King Edward went with his army to Bedford, before Martinmas, and conquered the town; and almost all the
burgesses, who obeyed him before, returned to him; and he sat there four weeks, and ordered the town to be repaired on the
south side of the water, ere he departed thence.
[A.D. 919. This year also the daughter of Ethelred, lord of
the Mercians, was deprived of all dominion over the Mercians, and carried into Wessex, three weeks before mid-winter; she was
(36) It is now generally written, as pronounced, "Swanage".
(37) For a more circumstantial account of the Danish or Norman operations against Paris at
this time, the reader may consult Felibien, "Histoire de la Ville de Paris", liv.
iii. and the authorities cited by him in the margin. This is that celebrated siege of Paris
minutely described by Abbo, Abbot of Fleury, in two books of Latin hexameters; which, however
barbarous, contain some curious and authentic matter relating to the history of that period.
(38) This bridge was built, or rebuilt on a larger plan than before, by Charles the Bald,
in the year 861, "to prevent the Danes or Normans (says Felibien) from making themselves
masters of Paris so easily as they had already done so many times," etc. -- "pour
empescher que les Normans ne se rendissent maistres de Paris aussi facilement qu'ils l'avoient
deja fait tant de lois," etc. -- Vol. i. p. 91, folio. It is supposed to be the famous
bridge afterwards called "grand pont" or "pont au change", -- the most
ancient bridge at Paris, and the only one which existed at this time.
(39) Or, in Holmsdale, Surry: hence the proverb -- "This is Holmsdale, Never conquer'd,
(40) The pirates of Armorica, now Bretagne; so called, because they abode day and night in
their ships; from lid, a ship, and wiccian, to watch or abide day and night.