Page images

Augustine holds two conferences with the British bishops; they decline communion with him*.

A.D. 604. The East Saxons converted by Mellitus. The sees of London and Rochester established.

A.D. 605. Death of Augustine, May 26.

A.D. 607. "Ethelfrith of Northumbria led his army to Chester, and there slew numberless Welshmen; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustine, wherein he saith, 'If the Welsh will not be at peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons.' There also were slain 200 priests, who came to pray for the army of the Welsh; their 'ealdor' was called Brocmail, who with some fifty escaped thence"."

A.D. 611. Ceolwulf of Wessex dies; Cynegils succeeds.

A.D. 614. Cynegils defeats the Britons at Beandune (Bampton, in Devonshire).

A.D. 616. Death of Ethelbert of Kent, February 23.

Eadbald succeeds him, and after some lapse of time is baptized.

A.D. 617. Ethelfrith of Northumbria killed by Redwald of East Anglia. Edwin, son of Ella (Bretwalda),

The dates 599, 601, 602, 604 have also been assigned for these conferences, but that in the text is considered the best supported. The place is believed to have been Aust, on the Severn.

One MS. of the Saxon Chronicle places this battle in 605; the Cambrian Annals and the Annals of Tigernach in 613. The " prophecy" was uttered at the second conference of Augustine with the British bishops.

Ethelbert was canonized, and was commemorated in the old English Church on the 24th of February. Ethelbert of East Anglia, killed by Offa, was also sainted, and commemorated on the 20th May. Several churches exist dedicated to the memory of one or the other of these holy kings.

succeeds, "and subdues all Britain, the Kentish-men excepteda."

A.D. 619. Death of Laurentius, archbishop of Canterbury, Feb. 2.

A.D. 624. Death of Mellitus, archbishop of Canbury, April 24.

A.D. 625. Edwin marries Ethelburga, the daughter of Ethelbert of Kent. She is accompanied by Paulinus, who is ordained bishop of the Northumbrians, July 21.

A.D. 626. Eanfleda, daughter of Edwin, is baptized by Paulinus, at Pentecost, June 8.

Edwin wars successfully against the West Saxons.

[ocr errors]

A. D. 627. "King Edwin and his people are baptized by Paulinus on Easter-Day," April 12. This was done at York, where he first ordered a church to be built of wood, which was consecrated in the name of St. Peter. There the king gave Paulinus a bishop's see, and there he afterwards commanded a larger church to be built of stone."

Penda succeeds in Mercia.

A.D. 628. Battle between the West Saxons and Mercians, at Cirencester.

A.D. 632. Eorpwald, king of East Anglia, is baptized. A.D. 633. Edwin is killed in battle by Penda of Mercia, and his ally Cadwallader, a British chief, at Hatfield chase, in Yorkshire, October 14.

The conquest of the Picts and of the Mevanian isles (Man and Anglesey) is also ascribed to him; but if subdued, the Picts recovered their independence soon after.

A bishop's see had existed in the time of the Romans at York, but the names of only three of the holders have been preserved.

e Edwin was canonized, and was commemorated on the 4th October in the ancient English Church. A church exists at Coniscliffe, in the county of Durham, dedicated to him.

[ocr errors]

Paulinus retires to Kent, with Edwin's queen and daughter d.

A.D. 634. Osric, a cousin of Edwin, succeeds in Deira, and Eanfrith, the son of Ethelfrith, in Bernicia, but both are soon expelled by Oswald (Bretwalda), another son of Ethelfrith, who reigns over the whole of Northumbria.

Aidan, a Scot, establishes a bishop's see at Lindisfarne.

Birinus commences the conversion of the West Saxons. A.D. 635. Cynegils of Wessex is baptized by Birinuse; as is Cwichelm, his son, in the following year. A.D. 636. Felix preaches to the East Angles.

A.D. 639. Cuthred of Wessex, son of Cwichelm, baptized by Birinus.

A.D. 640. Death of Eadbald of Kent.

"He over

threw all idolatry in his kingdom, and was the first of the English kings who established the Easter fast." Ercombert succeeds in Kent.


ABOUT this timef Dyvnwal Moelmud, a descendant of the British settlers in Armorica, is said, in the Welsh triads, to have come from that country, and having esta

She was named Eanfleda, and became the wife of Oswy of Northumberland.

• Birinus, a Benedictine monk, was the first bishop of the West Saxons; his episcopal seat was at Dorchester, in Oxfordshire.

This is the era assigned by Mr. Aneurin Owen; other writers place him far before the Christian era.

See p. 41.

blished his authority west of the Tamar and the Severn, to have been recognised as "king of the Cymry." He is described as "the best legislator that ever appeared, and the best in securing privilege and protection both to native and alien, lest any one should act wrongly and unlawfully." The laws ascribed to him are avowedly the basis of the legislation of Howel Dda; they minutely define the rights and duties of each class of the community, and exhibit the plan of an enlightened and orderly government such as it is little likely at any time prevailed, either in Armorica or Britain. Their origin is indicated by the fact that the supreme dignity and privileges of the bardic order are dwelt on at length, and it seems probable that what we now possess is a mere poetic paraphrase, in which some traces of laws that had existed prior to the time of Howel Dda are preserved among a mass of fanciful rules, of which neither the age nor the authority can be satisfactorily determined.

A.D. 642. Oswald of Northumberland killed by Penda, at Maserfield, Aug. 5. Oswy, his brother, succeeds in Bernicia.

A.D. 643. Cenwalch, son of Cynegils, succeeds in Wessex, and commences the minster at Winchester; it is finished in 648.

Perhaps near Winwick, in Lancashire, but more probably near Oswestry, in Shropshire. Oswald, who had been baptized in his youth, while an exile in Scotland, was esteemed a saint and martyr, and commemorated in the early English Church on the 5th of August. "His sanctity and his miracles were afterwards manifested in vari

A.D. 644. Death of Paulinus, Oct. 10.

Oswine succeeds in Deira.

A.D. 645. Penda drives Cenwalch from the kingdom of Wessex.

A.D. 646. Cenwalch of Wessex is baptized.

A.D. 651. Oswine of Deira is slain by Oswy of Bernicia, August 20; Adelwald succeeds.

Death of Aidan, bishop of Lindisfarne, Aug. 31. Finan, his successor, builds a church "in the Scottish mode," of wood.

A.D. 653. Conversion of the Mid-Saxons, or Mercians, commenced.

A.D. 654. King Anna, of East Anglia, slain.

Death of Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury, Sept. 30.

A.D. 655. Penda is defeated and killed at Winwidfield, near Leeds, by Oswy of Northumberland (Bretwalda.) "And thirty men of royal race fell with him, and some of them were kings."

Peada, son of Penda, succeeds in Mercia.

The Mercians become Christians.


ous ways beyond his island, and his hands are at Bamborough uncorrupted." His head being taken from the stake on which it had been fixed, was kept as a relic for a while, and then placed in the arms of St. Cuthbert, the bishop of Lindisfarne, which is commemorated by a sculpture in Durham cathedral. Nearly sixty churches are to be found in England dedicated to St. Oswald, but some probably belong to the bishop of Worcester of that name in the tenth century.

St. Cuthbert, with St. Oswald's head.


« PreviousContinue »