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In the summer-time; the army of the pagans, which had wintered at Quatbricge, went partly to East-Anglia, partly to Northumberland. Some of them remained there but others, getting possession of some ships, went to the river Seine before-mentioned. O with what frequent vexations, with how severe sufferings, in what a dreadful and lamentable manner, was all England annoyed, not only by the Danes, who had then occupied the parts of England, but also by those children of Satan. But it suffered much more, for three years, by a murrain among the cattle, and the death of noble men, who about that time departed this life. Among whom was Suithulf prelate of the church of Rochester, Ealheard bishop of Dorchester, Ceolmund duke of Kent, Beorhtulf duke of Essex, Eadulf the king's officer in Sussex, Beornulf provost of Winchester, Ecgulf the king's strator, and many others, but these were the most noble.

In the same year, the army of the pagans, settled in EastAnglia and Northumberland, carrying off booty along the sea-coasts, severely harassed the land of the West-Saxons, mostly in long and swift galleys, which themselves had made some years before. To oppose these other ships were made by Alfred's orders, twice as long, higher, swifter and less shaky, so as to beat the above-named ships of the enemy in strength. When


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Thus, during the three years
aforesaid, namely from the time that the Danes had
entered the port of Limene, these did much harm to the
English, but themselves suffered much greater harm.
But in the 4th year, the army was divided: some went into
Northumberland, some into East-Anglia, and others
crossing the sea, entered the Seine.

But afterwards, some ships of the Danes came near the
shores of Wessex, and making frequent invasions, at
one time plundering, and at another fighting, they did no
small damage to the provincials of Wessex.
Of the many fights that then took place, I will relate one,
as having been attended with an unusual issue.
King Alfred caused some long ships, of 40 oars or more,
to be got ready against the aforesaid ships of the Danes.
And whilst six of the Danish ships were lying somewhere
on the coast of Devonshire, they were surprised by nine
of the king's ships. The Danes seeing this, moved
against them with three only of their ships, for the other
three were stranded and could not move because the tide
was out. Six ships, therefore, of the English fought against
three of the Danes: whilst the other three went against
The three
the three Danish ships that were stranded.
Danish ships fought long and desperately against the six;
but numbers at last prevailed, and two of the Danes were
taken; the third fled, after all her crew had been killed
except five. This being done, when the English wished to
return to their companions which were near the Danish
ships on the opposite shore, they were stranded; and the Danes
seeing this, left their own ships and fought against the
English who were in the three ships. Then might you
seen the English people of the six ships looking at the
battle, and unable to bear them help, beating their
breasts with their hands, and tearing their hair with their
nails. The English fought manfully, and the Danes
bravely attacked them. Forty two Eaglishmen were
slain, and 120 of the Danes. But the Danes slew Luche-
man the commander of the king's fleet who pressed upon
them too boldly; on which account the English
gave way a little, and the Danes almost seemed to be
victorious. But, lo! the tide came up, and floated the
vessels: the Danes got out to sea, and the 9 English ships were
too late to overtake them. But a foul wind assailed the
victorious Danes and cast two of their ships on shore:
the crews were taken, brought before the king, and hanged
at Winchester: but those who were in the third ship,
landed, much crippled, in East-Anglia.


In that same year, 20 ships with their crews were cast away round the northern coasts.

these were sent out to sea, the king ordered them to take alive all they could, and to slay the Wherefore it came to pass that 20 ships of Danish pirates were taken alive in that same year; of whom some were slain, some brought alive to the king, and hanged on the gallows.



In the year 899

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That famous, warlike, victorious [KING]; the zealous protector of widows, pupils, orphans, and poor; skilled in the Saxon poets; dear to his own race, affable and liberal to all; endued with prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance; most patient under the infirmity, which he daily suffered; a most discreet inquisitor in executing justice; vigilant and devoted in the service of God; Alfred king of the Angul-Saxons, son of the pious king Atheluulf; having reigned 29 years and 6 months, died, in the 4th Indiction, on Wednesday the 6th before the calends of November, [OCT. 27], and was buried at Winchester in the New Minster, where with the just he awaits a glorious



A. 900.

Alfred, truly so called, a man
most strenuous in all things
in battle, and the noble king
of the West-Saxons, but pru-
dent and religious and most
wise, this year, to the great
sorrow of all his people, went
the way of all flesh, on the
7th before the calends of
November [OCT. 26] in the
29 and half 'th year of his
reign in the 51st year of his
age, Indiction 6. He was
buried becomingly and with
kingly honour in the royal
city of Winchester, in the
church of St Peter prince of
the apostles. His tomb also
is still extant, made of the
most precious porphyry

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Ethelwerd 901

Lastly, in the same year,
king Alfred departed out of
this world;

that immoveable pillar of
the Western Saxons, that
man full of justice, bold in
arms, learned in speech, and,
above all other things, im-
bued with the divine instruc-

For he had translated into
his own language, out of
Latin, unnumbered volumes,
of so varied a nature, and
so excellently, that the sor-
rowful book of Boethius
seemed, not only to the
learned, but even to those
who heard it read, as it were,

brought to life again.
The monarch died on the
seventh day before the feast
of All Saints [Oct. 25], and
his body rests in peace in
the city of Winton.
Pray, O reader, to Christ our
Redeemer, that he will save
his soul!


King Elfred died when he

had reigned 28 years.
To whom succeeded his son
Edward, who had been dili-
gently admonished by his
father especially to honour

Saint Cuthbert.
Bishop Eardulf also died in
Cunceceastre, wither he had
transferred the body of Saint
Cuthbert; with which he had
fled during 9 years from
place to place, in much hard-
ship, and went before the

army of the pagans.
To whom succeeded Cuth-
eard in the bishopric.

Innate nobility hath given thee honour,
Brave Alfred; and thy honour hath brought toil,
Thy toil hath given thee lasting reputation.
Joy mixed with grief was thine, hope blent with fear,
When victor, thou didst fear to fight o' the morrow;
Beaten, wast ready for tomorrow's fight,

Some of the MSS. of Asser re-
cord, in a note written by a later
hand, that king Alfred died on the
26th of October, A. D. 900, in the thir-
tieth of his reign "The different
dates assigned to the death of Al-
fred," says Sir Francis Palgrave,
"afford a singular proof of the un-
certainty arising from various modes
of computation. The Saxon Croni-
cle and Florence of Worcester agree
in placing the event in 901. The
first six nights before All Saints;
the last, with more precision, 'Indic-
tione quarta, et Feria quarta, 5 Cal. Nov.' Simeon of Durham, in 899,
and the Saxon Chronicle, in another passage, in 900. The concurrents
of Florence of Worcester seem to afford the greatest certainty, and
the date of 901 has therefore been preferred.",

Thy robes dropp'd sweat, thy sword dropp'd blood, and shewed,
How heavy task it was to be a king.

Through all earth's climes none but thyself e'er lived,
With power to breathe' neath such calamities.
Defeat ne'er struck the sword from his hand's grasp,
Nor could the sword cut short his thread of life.
But now his toils of life and rule are done,

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And may Christ give him rest and rule for ever.

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Although the researches of English and Continental Antiquaries prove the very close resemblance in many respects between the manners and customs of the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, one vast difference is clearly apparent; namely, the constitution of their mints. While the coinage of the Franks consisted, for the far greater part, of gold, that of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, with the exception of the styca of copper, struck in the mints of Northumbria only, consisted almost exclusively of silver, of which the sole denominations that have come down to us, are the penny and the half-penny, very few specimens, however, of the latter being known.

Ruding, in his Annals of the coinage of Great Britain, has the following remarks: "Those, who deny that the Saxons possessed any knowledge of the art of coinage before they landed in Britain, will find it extremely difficult to point out the source from whence they derived it after their arrival; for the Anglo-Saxon money bears not, either in form, type or weight, the least resemblance to those coins which at that time were the current specie of this Island."

After observing that "the barbarous workmanship of the British coins could not have excited their attention," he expresses his surprise that the Britons should have continued their own rude method of coining "in preference to the beautiful specimens of Roman art, which were constantly before their eyes."

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It is very clear from this that the laborious author of the Annals had but slight practical acquaintance with the subject, however valuable his work may be regarded as a compilation from written documents. To the general reader a detailed description of the various rude coins which must have been struck and circulated in this country after the departure of the Romans, would be tedious, and, without the assistance of illustrations, wholly impracticable. Long ere the once masters of the world withdrew for ever from their Island possession, their coins had ceased to be "beautiful specimens of art," and long previous to the introduction of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons, they attempted to copy the degenerate types of the Roman money.

Nor was the desire to imitate better examples abandoned on the introduction of Christianity, as we may perceive in some of the pennies of Edweard the first, on which is an evident attempt to copy the representation of the gate of the prætorian camp as found on the coins of Rome, from the reign of Diocletian to that of Theodosius. A coin of Ciolwulf, found at Preston, furnishes still stronger evidence, since the reverse is a palpable copy of the common reverse of the gold coins of Valentinian, on which are represented the two sitting figures of the emperors crowned by Victory hovering above them.'

It is thus evident that the Anglo-Saxons did not disdain the best models of coinage then existing, and that the rudeness of their own money is not attributable to an unwillingness to copy but rather to a want of ability to execute coins equal to the rude examples of the Roman currency at its worst period.

As regards the weight of the Anglo-Saxon penny, it was originally of 24 grains, hence the term " penny weight." Now the Quinarius or half denarius of the Roman Empire, from the time of Arcadius and Honorius to the reign of Justin, is of very common occurrence even at this day, and no doubt circulated abundantly throughout the Roman dominions. It weighs on an average 24 grains, a fact which leads to the inference that the Saxon penny was accommodated in weight to the Roman coins which must have continued in circulation long after they were minted, and were pro

(1) This coin is engraved in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. v, p. 10. It is not unlikely that the Victory here represented is intended by the Anglo-Saxon artist to represent the third personage of the Trinity see on this subject a note by the writer in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. xii, p. 79.

bably, for a considerable period, current throughout those countries which had been wrested from the Romans by the Teutonic tribes. It is not contended that these tribes had not a style of their own, but it may be safely asserted that the influence of Roman art is visible in their ornaments and utensils; while the necessity of some conformity with an almost universal coinage was imperative. Notwithstanding this, we find many Saxon coins totally dissimilar in type to those of the Romans; on a considerable number the name of the King, and that of the Moneyer alone appears without any attempt to represent an effigy, but this, as before observed, cannot be attributed so much to design as to want of skill; on the contrary, when it does appear, as on many of the pennies of Alfred, it is very plainly an attempt to imitate the Imperial effigy on the coins of the lower empire with the diadem encircling the head.



In the reign of Athelstan, notices of the Saxon mints first occur. In the laws of that King it is declared that no one shall mint money except within the walls-BUTAN ON PORT, that those who work in a wood or elsewhere unauthorised shall suffer amputation of the hand, and that there shall be in Canterbury seven moneyers; in Rochester, three; in London, eight; in Winchester, six; at Lewes two; at Hastings, one; at Chichester one; at Hampton, two; at Wareham, two; at Exeter, two; at Shaftsbury, two; at the other towns one.*

The English numismatists of the last century have discussed at considerable length the possibility of the Anglo-Saxons having struck gold in their mints. We shall not here review their arguments; it will be sufficient to observe that the evidence on either side is often inconclusive, and at times at utter variance with facts, while examples are cited which only serve to shew the utter want of practical acquaintance with the subject. While one side maintained that no gold was ever coined in the Anglo-Saxon mints, simply because we have no written record of the fact, the other produced examples in opposition to this opinion, in utter ignorance that the pieces thus adduced as evidence were of Merovingian origin. Pegge not only attempted to prove the Anglo-Saxon origin of one of these coins, but did not hesitate to assign it to the mint of York in the beginning of the tenth century.

(2) Æthelstanes Domas, c. 14. (3) slea man of pa hand pe he þæt fúl mid worhte. IBID (4) Elles to þam oðrum burgum, I. Æthelstanes Domas, c. 14.

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