Page images

A. 1015. In this year was the great council at Oxford ; and there Edric the ealdorman betrayed Sigeferth and Morcar, the chief thanes in the Seven Boroughs. He allured them into his chamber, and there within they were cruelly slain. And the king then took all their possessions, and ordered Sigeferth's relict to be taken, and to be brought to Malmesbury. Then, after a little space, Edmund the etheling went there and took the woman, contrary to the king's will, and had her for his wife. Then, before the Nativity of St. Mary, the etheling went thence, from the west, north to the Five Boroughs, and soon took possession of all Sigeferth's property, and Morcar's ; and the people all submitted to him. And then, during the same time, came king Canute to Sandwich ; and soon after went about Kent into Wessex, until he came to the mouth of the Frome : and then he ravaged in Dorset, and in Wiltshire, and in Somerset. Then lay the king sick at Corsham. Then gathered Edric the ealdorman forces, and the etheling Edmund in the north. When they came together, then would the ealdorman betray the etheling, but he was not able : and they then parted without a battle on that account, and gave way to their foes. And Edric the ealdorman then enticed forty ships from the king, and then went over to Canute. And the men of Wessex submitted, and delivered hostages, and horsed the army ; and then was it there until mid-winter.

A. 1016. In this year came Canute with his army, and Edric the ealdorman with him, over Thames into Mercia at Cricklade. And then they went to Warwickshire, during the midwinter's tide, and ravaged, and burned, and slew all that they could come at. Then began the etheling Edmund to gather his forces. When the forces were assembled, then would it not content them except it so were that the king were there with them, and they might have the help of the citizens of London : then gave they up the expedition, and each man went him away home. Then after that tide, the forces were again called out, so that each man, who was able to go, should come forth, under full penalties ; and they sent to the king at London, and prayed him that he would come to meet the forces with such help as he could gather. When they all had come together, then it availed them nothing more than it oft before had done.

Then was it made known to the king that they would betray him ; they who ought to have been of aid to him. Then left he the forces and returned to London. Then rode the etheling Edmund into North-humbria to Utred the earl, and every man thought that they would assemble forces against king Canute. Then marched they into Staffordshire,

nd into Shropshire, and to Chester; and they plundered on their part, and Canute on his part. He went out through Buckinghamshire into Bedfordshire, and thence to Huntingdonshire, and so into Northamptonshire along the fens to Stamford, and then into Lincolnshire; then thence to Nottinghamshire, and so to North-humbria towards York. When Utred heard this, then left he off his plundering, and hastened northwards, and then submitted, from need, and all the North-humbrians with him ; and he delivered hostages : and, notwithstanding, they slew him, through the counsel of Edric the ealdorman, and Thurkytel, son of Nafan, with him. And then, after that, king Canute appointed Eric to be his earl in North-humbria, in like manner as Utred had been ; and afterwards went southward, by another way, all to the west : and then before Easter, came all the army to their ships. And the etheling Edmund went to London to his father. And then, after Easter, went king Canute with all his ships towards London. Then befell it that king Ethelred died, before the ships arrived. He ended his days on St. George's mass day, and he held his kingdom with great toil and under great difficulties the while that his life lasted. And then, after his end, all the peers who were in London, and the citizens, chose Edmund to be king: and he strenuously defended his kingdom the while that his time lasted. Then came the ships to Greenwich at Rogation days. And within a little space they went to London, and they dug a great ditch on the south side, and dragged their ships to the west side of the bridge; and then afterwards they ditched the city around, so that no one could go either in or out: and they repeatedly fought against the city ; but the citizens strenuously withstood them. Then had the king Edmund, before that, gone out; and then he over-ran Wessex, and all the people submitted to him. And soon after that he fought against the army at Pen, near Gillingham. And a second battle he fought, after mid-summer, at Sherston ; and there much slaughter was made on either side, and the armies of themselves separated. In that battle was Edric the ealdorman, and Ælmer darling, helping the army against king Edmund. And then gathered he his forces for the third time, and went to London, all north of Thames, and so out through Clayhanger ; and relieved the citizens, and drove the army in flight to their ships. And then, two days after, the king went over at Brentford, and there fought against the army, and put them to flight: and there many of the English people were drowned, from their own carelessness ; they, who went before the forces, and would take booty. And after that the king went into Wessex, and collected his forces. Then went the army, soon, to London, and beset the city around, and strongly fought against it, as well by water as by land. But the Almighty God delivered it.

The enemy went then, after that, from London, with their ships, into the Orwell, and there went up, and proceeded into Mercia, and destroyed and burned whatsoever they over-ran, as is their wont, and provided themselves with food : and they conducted, as well their ships as their droves, into the Medway. Then king Edmund assembled, for the fourth time, all his forces, and went over the Thames at Brentford, and went into Kent; and the army fled before him, with their horses, into Sheppey : and the king slew as many of them as he could overtake. And Edric the ealdorman went then to meet the king at Aylesford : than which no measure could be more ill-advised. The

army then went again up into Essex, and passed into Mercia, and destroyed whatever it over-ran.

When the king learned that the army was upward, then assembled he, for the fifth time, all the English nation, and followed after them, and overtook them in Essex, at the down which is called Assingdon: and there they strenuously joined battle. Then did Edric the ealdorman, as he had oft before done, begin the flight first with the Maisevethians, and so betrayed his royal lord and the whole people of the English race. There Canute had the victory; and all the English nation fought against him. There was slain bishop Ednoth,* and abbat Wulsy, and Elfric the ealdorman,

* Of Dorchester.


and Godwin the ealdorman of Lindsey, and Ulfkytel of East-Anglia, and Ethelward, son of Ethelwine* the ealdorman; and all the nobility of the English race was there destroyed.

Then, after this battle, went king Canute up with his army into Gloucestershire, where he learned that king Edmund


Then advised Edric the ealdorman, and the counsellors who were there, that the kings should be mutually reconciled. And they delivered hostages mutually; and the kings came together at Olney near Deerhurst, and then confirmed their friendship as well by pledge as by oath, and settled the tribute for the army. And they then separated with this reconcilement: and Edmund obtained Wessex, and Canute Mercia and the northern district. The army then went to their ships with the things they had taken. And the men of London made a truce with the army, and bought themselves peace: and the army brought their ships to London, and took up their winter-quarters therein. Then, at St. Andrew's mass, died king Edmund; and his body lies at Glastonbury, with his grandfather Edgar. And in the same year died Wulfgar, abbat of Abingdon; and Ethelsy succeeded to the abbacy.

A. 1017. In this year king Canute obtained the whole realm of the English race, and divided it into four parts : Wessex to himself, and East-Anglia to Thurkill, and Mercia to Edric, and North-humbria to Eric. And in this year was Edric the ealdorman slain in London, very justly, and Norman, son of Leofwin the ealdorman, and Ethelward, son of Ethelmar the great, and Britric, son of Elphege, in Devonshire. And king Canute banished Edwy

. the etheling, and afterwards commanded him to be slain, and Edwy king of the churls. And then, before the Kalends of August, the king commanded the relict of king Ethelred, Richard's daughter, to be fetched for his wife; that was Elfgive in English, Emma in French. A, 1017. This year Canute was chosen king.

A. 1018. In this year the tribute was delivered throughout the whole English nation ; that was altogether, two and

* Called Ethelsy in some MSS.


seventy thousand pounds, besides that which the townsmen of London paid, which was ten and a half thousand pounds. And then some of the army went to Denmark, and forty ships remained with king Canute. And the Danes and the Angles agreed, at Oxford, to live under Edgar's law. And this year abbat Ethelsy died at Abingdon, and Ethelwine succeeded him.

A. 1019. This year king Canute went with forty ships to Denmark, and there abode all the winter.

A. 1019. And this winter died archbishop Elfstan :* he was named Living; and he was a very provident man, both as to God and as to the world.

A. 1020. In this year died archbishop Living: and king Canute came again to England. And then, at Easter, there was a great council at Cirencester: then was outlawed Ethelward the ealdorman, and Edwy, king of the churls. And in this year went the king to Assingdon, and archbishop Wulstan (II.], and Thurkyl the earl, and many bishops and also abbats, and many monks with them, and consecrated the minster at Assingdon. And Ethelnoth the monk, who was dean at Christ-Church, was in the same year, on the Ides of November, consecrated bishop at Christ-Church, f by archbishop Wulfstan.

A. 1020. And caused to be built there a minster of stone and lime, for the souls of the men who there were slain, and gave it to one of his priests, whose name was Stigand.

A. 1021. In this year, at Martin-mass, king Canute outlawed Thurkyl the earl. And bishop Elfgar, the almsgiver, died on Christmas-morn.

A. 1022. This year king Canute went out with his ships to the Isle of Wight. Archbishop Ethelnoth went to Rome, and was there received by Benedict, the honourable pope, with much worship; and he, with his own hands, put his pall upon him, and very honourably consecrated him archbishop, and blessed him, on the Nones of October. And the archbishop soon after, on the self-same day, sang mass therewith: and then thereafter was honourably entertained

by the same pope, and also himself took the pall from St. Peter's altar; * Of Canterbury.

+ Of York. # Canterbury.

s Of Elmham.


« PreviousContinue »