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contrary to the practice of the age in regard to minors. He fought nine battles with various success against the Northmen, and died shortly after Easter, 871. His brother Alfred was appointed to succeed him, as he left only young children, from one of whom Ethelwerd the historian traced his descent.

A.D. 866. The Northmen make a truce with the East Angles, and obtain horses from them.

A.D. 867. The Northmen pass from East Anglia, and capture York; the Northumbrians, who had expelled Osbert and chosen a king, Ella, not of the royal blood, attempt to drive them from York, but are defeated. Osbert and Ella are both slain, and a truce is made.

A.D. 868. The Northmen pass into Mercia, and possess themselves of Nottingham, where they are ineffectually besieged by Ethelred and his brother Alfred; the Mercians at length make a truce with them.

A.D. 869. The Northmen retire to York, and remain there during the year.

A.D. 870. The Northmen pass again into East Anglia, and take up their winter quarters at Thetford. "And the same winter King Edmund fought against them, and the Danes got the victory and slew the king, [Nov. 20,] and subdued all the land, and destroyed all the minsters which they came to. The names of their chiefs who slew the king were Ingwair and Ubba. At that same time they came to Medeshamstede (Peterborough), and burned and beat it down, slew abbot and

monks, and all that they found there; and that place, which before was full rich, they reduced to nothing"."

Ethelred, archbishop of Canterbury, endeavours to expel the secular priests from his cathedral.

A.D. 870. Anlaf the Northman ravages England, but dies shortly after his return to Ireland.

A.D. 871. The Northmen pass into Wessex. They are defeated at Englefield, but gain the victory three days after at Reading. They are defeated four days after at Ashdown, (near Aston, in Berkshire,) and fourteen days after are victorious at Basing; "and about two

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through the calling to it. There lay the Edmund of East Anglia; from a gray wolf that guarded the head, and with painted panel of the 15th century. his two feet had the head embraced, greedy and hungry, and for God durst not taste the head, and held it against wild beasts. Then were they astonished at the wolf's guardianship, and carried the holy head home with them, thanking the Almighty for all His wonders. But the wolf followed forth with the head until they came to the town, as if he were tame, and after that turned into the woods again." The remains were interred at the place, since called in consequence, Bury St. Edmund's, and many churches still exist dedicated to St. Edmund, king and martyr.

months after this, King Ethelred and Alfred his brother fought against the army at Meretun, and they were in two bodies, and they put both to flight, and during a great part of the day were victorious, and there was great slaughter on either hand; but the Danes had possession of the place of carnage; and there Bishop Heahmund (of Sherborne) was slain, and many good


Ethelred dies, << over Easter," and is buried at Wimborne. His brother Alfred succeeds.


ALFRED, the fourth son of Ethelwulf, was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, in 849. In his fifth year he was sent to Rome, and was there "consecrated king" by the Pope, and again visited that city in company with nis father in the year 855. In 868 he married Elswitha, the daughter of Ethelred, an East Anglian chief, and for the next three years was actively engaged in seconding the efforts of his brother Ethelred against the Northmen. In 871 his brother's death placed him on the throne, and he continued the contest with various fortune for seven years, when the overpowering force of the enemy compelled him to withdraw to the isle of Athelney, where he passed the early months of 878;

As he met his death from idolaters, King Ethelred was considered as a martyr, and was canonized. His commemoration in the ancient English church was on April 22, which is therefore most probably the day of his death, though Florence of Worcester says April 23. A church at Norwich is still found dedicated to him.

soon issuing from his retreat, he defeated the Northmen, and at length concluded a peace by which their most powerful chief became in fact king of the eastern part of the country, but also adopted Christianity, and swore to assist in the defence of the land against all new assailants, an engagement which was but indifferently observed. The main body of the spoilers, however, withdrew, and although he had to repel another attack in 885, Alfred now found leisure not only for valuable literary labours, but to repair the ravages of war, and to form or remodel those admirable political institutions for which his name is still reverenced.

The year 893 witnessed a fresh return of the Northmen, but they were vigorously withstood, and at length expelled, and to secure his coasts the king constructed ships better able to cope with those of the enemy than any that had been before seen in England, and is thus regarded as the founder of the royal navy. Alfred's few remaining years were passed in apparent tranquillity, and he died on the 26th October, 901.

Beside other children, who require no particular mention, Alfred left,-Edward, his successor; Ethelfleda, who as "lady of the Mercians" acted a conspicuous part; Elfrida, married to Baldwin II. count of Flanders"; and Ethelgina, who became abbess of Shaftesbury.

A.D. 871. Alfred defeated by the Northmen at Wilton. Nine other battles are fought in the country

› See p. 155.

He was the son of Judith, the step-mother of Alfred, and was the ancestor of Matilda, the first Norman queen of England.

south of the Thames, in which the invaders appear to have been victorious, as the West Saxons make peace with them.

A.D. 872. The Northmen take up their winter quarters in London; the Mercians make peace with them. Cameleac consecrated bishop of Llandaff by the archbishop of Canterbury.

We see from this that the spiritual supremacy of England extended at this period at least over the southeastern part of Wales (Gwent), and it is probable that political power accompanied it, as when this bishop was captured by the Northmen in 918, he was, we are told by the Saxon Chronicle, ransomed by Edward the Elder, for 40 pounds of silver 2.

The Northmen from Ireland ravage the west of Scotland, but are defeated near the Clyde by Constantine II.

A.D. 873. The Northmen penetrate into Northumbria, and take up their winter quarters at Torksey, in Lincolnshire; the people make peace with them.

A.D. 874. The Northmen drive out Burgred of Mercia, and make Ceolwulf, "an unwise king's thane," king in his place. Burgred goes to Rome".

A.D. 875. Halfdane, a Northman, ravages Northumbria, and also spoils the Picts and the Strathclyde Britons.

The bishop's see and the body of St. Cuthbert removed to Chester-le-Street.

Guthrum besieges Grantabridge (Cambridge).

See p. 106.

Burgred died at Rome shortly after, and was buried in the church of the English college there.

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