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CHAP. VII. violence would not have greatly offended the morality of that age. Had Swegen killed even a kinsman in a moment of provocation or in a fair fight to decide a quarrel, his guilt would not have seemed very black. Had he even used craft in carrying out an ancestral deadly feud, he might have quoted many precedents in Northumbrian history, and, among them, an act in the life of the reigning Earl


of the North hardly inferior in guilt to the worst aspect of Universal his own.1 But to kill a kinsman, a confiding kinsman, one indignation against who had just granted a somewhat unreasonable prayer, was a deed which offended the natural instincts not only of contemporary Englishmen but of Scandinavian pirates. At the moment Swegen seems to have found no friends; the voice of all England was against him; there is no sign that any of his family stood by him; the sympathies of Harold clearly lay with his murdered cousin. It is hardly possible to conceive a blacker or more unpardonable crime. One would have thought that Swegen would have failed to find patrons or protectors in any corner of Christendom. His recep- Yet, strange to say, the murderer, forsaken by all, was tion by Baldwin. at once received with favour by Baldwin, even though Baldwin must have known that by receiving him he was running the risk of again offending the King of the English and even the Emperor himself. And what followed is stranger still. In the next year, in a Witenagemót held in London in Midlent, Swegen's outlawry was reversed, and he was restored to his Earldom.2 And, strangest of all, his restoration is attributed, not to the influence of Godwine or 1050. his family, not to any revulsion of feeling on the part of Swegen re- the King or the nation, but to the personal agency of Eadward Bishop Ealdred the Peacemaker. He it was who, it would

conciled to

His outlawry is reversed

and he re

turns to

England. Midlent,

1 See vol. i. p. 522.

2 I think that by comparing the Abingdon Chronicle under 1050 with the Peterborough Chronicle under 1047, it will appear that Swegen was reinstated in this Gemót of Midlent 1050, one which I shall have to mention again.



seem, crossed over to Flanders, brought Swegen to Eng- CHAP. VII. land, and procured his restoration at the hands of the King by Bishop and his Witan.1 There is nothing to show that Ealdred was specially under the influence of Godwine. We shall before long find him acting in a manner which, to say the least, shows that he was not one of Godwine's special followers. No part of his diocese lay within the Earldom of Godwine. And if part of it lay within the Earldom of the man whom he sought to restore, that only makes him the more responsible for the act which was so directly to affect a portion of his own flock. In the restoration of Swegen, Ealdred seems to have acted purely in his capacity of peacemaker. At first sight it might seem that Ealdred strove to win the blessing promised to his class by labouring on behalf of a sinner for whom the most enlarged charity could hardly plead. The very strangeness of the act suggests that there must have been some explaining cause, intelligible at the time, but which our authorities have not recorded. The later history of Swegen shows that, if he was a great sinner, he was also a great penitent. We can only guess that Ealdred had already marked in him some signs of remorse and amendment, that he had received from him some confession of his crime, to which we possibly owe the full and graphic account of the murder of Beorn which has been handed down to us. If so, it was doubtless wise


1 Flor. Wig. "Swanus . . . ibi mansit, quoad Wigornensis episcopus Aldredus illum reduceret, et cum Rege pacificaret." This seems to imply that Ealdred brought him over in person.

2 The old diocese of Worcester took in the shires of Worcester and Gloucester and part of Warwick. Of these Gloucestershire was in Swegen's Earldom, the rest most probably in Ralph's. See above, p. 48, and Appendix G.

3 The reconciliation of Swegen with Eadward is mentioned by Thomas Stubbs (see above, p. 87) as an instance of the peacemaking powers of Ealdred, along with that of Gruffydd.

It is clear that the details of the murder could come only from Swegen himself, as his accomplices were killed by the Hastings men. would be the obvious person for Swegen to relate them to.



CHAP. VII. and charitable not to break a bruised reed; still again to entrust the government of five English shires to the seducer of Eadgifu and murderer of Beorn was, to say the least, a perilous experiment.

Various military


We must now go back to the time when King Eadward had just dismissed the Mercian contingent after the reconciliation between Baldwin and the Emperor. While the operations unhappy events which I have just narrated were going on, of the year Englishmen had cause to be alert in more than one quarter of the island against assaults of various kinds. In the comparatively peaceful reign of Eadward this year stands forth as marked by warlike operations of every sort. England had to resist the assaults of foreign enemies, of faithless vassals, and of banished men seeking their restoration. Besides the small force of Swegen, Osgod Clapa was, as has been already said,1 at sea with a much larger number of ships. He first appeared at Wulpe near Sluys on the coast of Flanders, and the news of his arrival there was brought to Eadward at the moment when the King was left at Sandwich at the head of a very small force. The Mercian contingent had just been dismissed, and Godwine, with the force of Wessex, had sailed westward. Eadward was therefore nearly defenceless. He therefore countermanded the orders for the dismissal of the Mercian vessels, and as many of them as was possible were brought Osgod however did not act personally as the enemy of England. He merely took his wife from Bruges, where she had been left, and sailed back to Denmark with Piracy and six ships. The remainder of his fleet took to piracy off Eadulfsness in Essex, and there did much harm. But a violent storm arose and destroyed all the vessels except four. These were chased and captured, and the crews

destruction of his fleet.

ments of


He returns back. to Den


1 See above, pp. 90, 99.

2 Four, according to the Worcester Chronicle, two, according to Florence.


slain, whether by Eadward's own fleet in pursuit or by CHAP. VII. some of the foreign allies of England is not very clear.1

The rumour which had called Godwine westward from Ships from Ireland in

joined by

of South

vade Glou

Sandwich was not wholly a false one. The ships which the Bristol were then said to be ravaging the south coast were doubt- Channel; less Danish pirate vessels from Ireland, the same which, Gruffydd in the course of July, sailed up the Bristol Channel as far Wales. July, 1049. as the mouth of the Usk.2 There they were welcomed by the South-Welsh King Gruffydd, who was doubtless rejoiced at the prospect of such allies, alike against the English and against his Northern namesake, the momentary confederate of England. After a certain amount of They inharrying along the coast of the Channel, the combined cestershire, and defeat forces of Gruffydd and the pirates crossed the Wye, and Bishop slew and plundered within the diocese of Worcester. It Ealdred. is not clear who was the Earl responsible for the safety of the country since the banishment of Swegen. It was probably the King's nephew, Ralph the Timid, whose name begins about this time to appear in the charters with the title of Earl, and who seems to have been invested with the government of Worcestershire. If this be so, this was the first appointment of a foreigner to a great temporal office, a further step in the downward course, still more marked than that of appointing foreign

The Abingdon Chronicle does not mention this last incident, and that of
Peterborough passes by the whole story of Osgod.

"Quæ in

1 Chron. Wig. “pa man ofsloh begeondan se." Flor. Wig. transmarinis partibus captæ sunt, occisis omnibus qui in illis erant."


2 Chron. Wig. "On Wylisce Axa." Flor. Wig. Ostium intrantes Sabrinæ, in loco qui dicitur Wylesc Eaxan appulerunt." The "Welsh Axe" is of course the Usk. The rivers of the same name in Somersetshire and Devonshire had ceased to be looked on as Welsh.

On the details of this perplexing campaign see Appendix P.


4 Ralph's signatures seem to begin in 1050. See Cod. Dipl. iv. 123, 125. That in 121 is more doubtful. The document in 113 Mr. Kemble marks as doubtful, but refers it to 1044-1047. But it must be spurious. It makes Eadsige Archbishop and Ælfgar Earl at the same time, as also Tostig, who was not an Earl till long after. See Appendix G.

CHAP. VII, Prelates. Under such a chief as Ralph no vigorous resistance was to be looked for, and the person who really took upon himself the defence of the country was Bishop Ealdred. He gathered a force from among the inhabitants of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire; but part of his army consisted of Welshmen, whether mere mercenaries hired for the occasion, or Welshmen living as immediate subjects of England. But whoever these Welshmen were, their sympathies lay wholly with Gruffydd and not with Ealdred. They sent a secret message to the Welsh King, suggesting an immediate attack on the English army. Gruffydd willingly answered to the call. With his twofold force, Welsh and Danish, he fell on the English camp early in the morning, slew many good men, and put the rest, together with the Bishop, to flight.1 Of the further results of this singular and perplexing campaign, especially when and how the retreat of the invaders was brought about, we hear nothing.

July 29, 1049.

Increasing connexion


Everything which happened about this time sets before with the us the great and increasing intercourse which now preContinent. vailed between England and the Continent. Our fathers attendance were now brought into a nearer connexion with both the at Synods. spiritual and the temporal chiefs of Christendom than they had ever known before. We have already seen England in close alliance with the Empire; we have now to contemplate her relations with the Papacy. The active and saintly Pontiff who now presided over the Church held at this time a series of Councils in various places, at most of which English Prelates attended. Leo, after receiving the submission of Godfrey at Aachen, entered France, at the request of Heremar, Abbot of Saint Remigius at

1 Chron. Wig. 1050.
"And hi comon unwær on heom, on ealne ærne
morgen, and fela godra manna þær ofslagon; and pa opre ætburston forð
mid þam biscope."

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