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4 But a messenger came to
But king Alfred had not yet completed his march to attack the enemy, when lo, news is brought that the pagans who inhabited Northumberland and East-Anglia had collected together 240 ships, that some of them in 100 ships had sailed round the south coast of England, and the others in 40 ships round the north coast: that the one party had besieged Exeter, the others a fortress in Devonshire with a large body of men. When the king heard these things, he was not daunted by the rashness of the enemy, but became furious at his men being besieged. Without delay, he recalled all his cavalry, and marched to Exeter, leaving, however, a small body of men to finish the subjugation of the enemy he was following. These, proceeding to London, with the citizens and others who had come to help them from the western coast of England, advance to Beanflot; for they had heard that the greatest part of the army, which had settled at Apultreo, had gone thither, and that king Haesten had come there with his army from Milton and had there built a fortress, but at that moment they were gone forth to plunder.
For the same king, a short time before, had made peace with King Alfred, and given several hostages, and had moreover at the request of King Alfred, given his two sons to be regenerated in the laver of salvation; one of them was taken from the fountain by King Alfred himself, the other by the noble duke Æthered.
But Haesten, going to Beanflot, quickly made there a fortress, and immediately plundered the lands of Ethered the father of his
A severe battle was therefore fought with the pagans, and the Christians, at the first shock, put them to flight, destroyed their works, and seizing on all they could find, carried with them the women and children to London. Some of the ships they broke to pieces, some they burnt, and carried the rest either to London or Rochester.
They also took the wife and two sons of Haesten, before he came back to Beanflot from plundering, and these they carried to king Ælfred. But he did them no harm, because one of them, as we have said before, was his [GOD] son, the other the [GOD] son of duke Æthered; but he confirmed the peace between them, and having received hostages not only restored the wife and sons of Haesten, at their father's request, but also gave him a
And when he had gone out to
but he gave back to Hasteng
because one of them was his godson, and the other Ethered's the alderman's. They had become their godfathers before Hæsten came to Beamfleet, and at that
time Hæsten had delivered to him hostages and taken
Now the king with his forces
They then went up along the
Then Ethered the alderman,
When they had all drawn together, then they came up with the army at Buttington
Then he went to Sceobyrig,
And moreover a great multi
tude came to him from the
East Angles and Northum-
part of the country. When two years were completed, from the time that an immense fleet came from
Boulogne to Limnæ a town of the Angles, duke Ethelnoth set out from the western parts of the Angles, and goes from the city of York against the enemy, who devastate no small tracts of land in the kingdom of the Mercians, on the west of Stanford; I. E. between the courses of the river Weolod and a thick wood called Ceoftefne.
on the bank of the Severn, and there beset them about, on either side, in a fastness. When they had now sat there many weeks on both sides of the river, and the king was in the west in Devon, against the fleet, then were the enemy distressed for want of food; and having eaten a great part of their horses, the others being starved with
large sum of money.
This year died king Guthred.
Meanwhile the pagan army from Beanflot, as we have said, being routed by the Christians, went to a city in Essex called Sceobyrig, and
built there for themselves a
Many of the pagans from East-Anglia and Northumberland having joined them, they plundered first the banks of the Thames, and then of the Severn. Resenting their attacks, those noble leaders, Æthered Æthelm Æthelnoth and other servants of the king, whom he had left for garrisons in the fortresses, towns and cities, not only on the eastern side of the Perrot, but also on the western side of Selwood, and not only on the southern but also on the northern bank of the river Thames, collect a numerous army against the enemy, to which also was added an auxiliary force of Welshmen who lived on the western
bank of the Severn.
Whilst, therefore, the king
And issuing thence, they
made a camp.
From which, however, they
But those who had besieged
When these were assembled into one body, they pursued the enemy, and overtaking them at Buttington on the bank of the river Severn, laid siege, on both sides of the river, to the fortress in which they had taken refuge. Several weeks passed over; some of the pagans died of hunger, some of them, when they had eaten their horses, burst from the fortress and gave battle to those who were on the eastern side of the river, but when many thousands of the pagans had been slain, and all the others were put to flight, the Christians obtained the victory. In this battle the noble Ordeah, and many of the king's servants were slain. And when the pagans who fled, returning to East-Saxony, had come to their fortress and their ships, winter now coming on, they again gather a large army out of East-Anglia and Northumberland, and having placed their wives; their money and ships in East-Anglia, and left their fortresses, they march without
A fourth army came that same year from Northumberland as far as Leicester; but were there besieged, and afflicted by so sore a famine, that they ate even their horses.
Ethelwerd hunger, then went they out against the men who were encamped on the east bank of the river, and fought against them and the Christians had the victory.
And Ordheh a king's-thane was there slain, and also many other king's-thanes were slain; and of the Danish-men there was very great slaughter made; and that part which got away thence was saved by flight.
When they had come into Essex to their fortress and to their ships, then the survivors again gathered a great army from among the East-Angles and the North-humbrians before winter, and committed their wives and their ships and their wealth to the EastAngles, and went at one stretch, day and night, until they arrived at a western city in Wirral, which is called Lega-ceaster.
Then were the forces unable to come up with them before they were within the fortress: nevertheless they beset the fortress about for some two days, and took all the cattle that was there-without, and slew the men whom they were able to overtake without the fortress, and burned all the corn, and with their horses ate it in every evening. And this was about a twelvemonth after they first came hither over sea.
And then soon after that, in
The aforesaid army of pagans
this year, the army from Wirral went among the North-Welsh, for they were unable to stay there: this was because they had been deprived both of the cattle and of the corn which they had plundered.
When they had turned again out of North-Wales with the booty which they had there taken, then went they over North-humbria-land and East-Anglia, in such wise that the forces could not overtake them before they came to the eastern parts of the land of Essex, to an island that is out on the sea, which is called Mersey. And as the army which had beset Exeter again turned homewards, then spoiled they the South-Saxons near Chichester; and the townsmen put them to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, and took some of their ships. Then that same year, bofore winter, the Danish-men who had sat down in Mersey, towed their ships up the Thames, and thence up the Lea. This was about two years after they had come hither over sea.
In that same year the fore
CHARTERS IN 896. None.
mentioned army constructed a fortress on the Lea, twenty miles above London, After this, in summer, a great body of the townsmen, and also of other people, went onwards until they arrived at the Danish fortress; and there they were put to flight, and some four king's-thanes were slain. Then after this during harvest, the king encamped near to the town, while the people reaped their corn, so that the Danish-men might not deprive them of the crop. Then on a certain day the king rode up along the river, and observed where the river might be obstructed, so that they would be unable to bring out their ships. And they then did thus: they constructed two fortresses, on the two sides of the river. When they had already begun the work, and had encamped there-beside, then perceived the army that they should not be able to bring out their ships. They then abandoned them, and went across the country till they arrived at Cwatbridge by the Severn; and there they constructed a fortress. Then the forces rode westwards after the army and the men of London took possession of the ships; and all which they could not bring away they broke up and those which there were stalworth' they brought to London: moreover the Danish-men had committed their wives to the keeping of the East-Angles before they went out from their fortress. Then sat they down for the winter at Cwatbridge. This was about three years after they had come hither over sea to Limene-mouth.
intermission and enter the city of Legions, called in Saxon Legeceastre, at that time deserted, before the army of Elfred and the underking Æthered, who were following, could overtake them. Some of them, however, they took and put to death, re-taking all the sheep and oxen which they had gained by plunder: they then besieged the city two days, and gave some of the standing corn to their horses, burning the rest. All this was done after the revolution of one
year from the time when they had left the coasts of Gaul, and entered the mouth of the Limene.
The before-named army of the pagans, not having the means of subsistence-for the Christians had taken every thing from thementer the land of the Southern Britons, and devastating
In the 23rd year of king
CHARTERS IN 895.
abbas." "Eadredus comes," "Ethel-
it far and wide, carry off with them a very great booty. And, because they did not dare to return through Mercia for fear of the Mercians, they went first through Northumberland, then through the Mediterranean Angles, and having taken their wives and ships in East-Anglia, entered an island called Meresig situated on the sea-coast in the eastern part of East-Saxony. Afterwards, roused by the sufferings of his men aforesaid, he [ALFRED] reached Exeter, & the pagans terrified at his coming, fled to their ships, and so returning to their seats, near the city which is called in English Cissaceastre, in the province of the
But the army that had be-
The aforesaid army which besieged Exancestre, ravaged every thing round Cissacestre. But not long after they were put to the rout by those who were in the city, many of them were slain, and many of their ships were taken.
South-Saxons, they carried off booty. But being routed by the inhabitants of that city, the greater part of them were wounded or slain, and many of their ships taken.
1 In the same year they drew their ships up the river Thames, and afterwards up the river Ligea, and began to build for themselves a fortress near the river, 20 miles from London.
In the following year, the army that was on the river Lee,
But the Londoners came to that camp, and fighting with
In the summer-time, a great