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WAR BETWEEN SWEGEN AND HAROLD HARDRADA.
secret counsellors; they were debated openly by the Witan CHAP. VII. of the whole land. The demand of Swegen was discussed in full Gemót. Swegen had certainly acted, whether of set purpose or not, as a friend of England; the diversion caused by him had saved England from a Norwegian invasion. But setting aside any feelings of gratitude on this account, any feelings of attachment to the kinsman of Cnut and of Godwine, it does not appear that England had any direct interest in embracing the cause of Swegen. A party which sought only the immediate interest of England might argue that the sound policy was to stand aloof, and to leave the contending Kings of the North to wear out each other's power and their own. Such however was not the view taken by Godwine. In the Gemót Godwine in which the question was debated, the Earl of the West- the claim Saxons supported the petition of his nephew, and proposed of Swegen; that fifty ships should be sent to his help. It is clear that such a course might be supported by plausible arguments. It is clear that equally plausible arguments might be brought forward on the other side. And if, as is possible, this question was discussed in the same Gemót in which sentence of outlawry was pronounced against Swegen the son of Godwine, it is clear that the father of the culprit would stand at a great disadvantage in supporting the request of the prince with whom that culprit had taken service. It marks the still abiding influence of Godwine that he was able to preserve the confiscated lordships of Swegen for Harold and Beorn. But in his recommendation of giving armed support to Swegen Estrithson all his eloquence utterly failed. The cause of non-intervention but his was pleaded by Earl Leofric, and his arguments prevailed. is opposed All the people, we are told-the popular character of the by Leofric, Assembly still impresses itself on the language of history jected. -agreed with Leofric, and determined the proposal of Godwine to be unwise. The naval force of Magnus, it
CHAP. VII. was said, was too great to be withstood.1 Swegen Estrithson had therefore to carry on the struggle with his own unaided forces. Against the combined powers of Magnus and Harold those forces were utterly unavailing. Swegen was defeated in a great sea-fight; Magnus took possession of all Denmark, and laid a heavy contribution upon the realm.2 Swegen again took refuge in Sweden, and now began to meditate a complete surrender of his claims upon Denmark. Just at this moment, we are told, a messenger appeared, bringing the news of the sudden death of Magnus.3 The victorious King had perished by an accident not unlike that which had caused the death of Lewis of Laôn. His horse, suddenly startled by a hare, dashed his rider against the trunk of a tree. On his death-bed he bequeathed the crown of Norway to his uncle Harold Harold and that of Denmark to his adversary Swegen. Such a Norway, bequest is quite in harmony with the spirit of the correSwegen in spondence between Magnus and Eadward. Swegen returned and took possession of his Kingdom, and though he warfare. was for years engaged in constant warfare with Harold,
Swegen and occupies Denmark.
Sudden death of Magnus.
1 The application of Swegen and the refusal by the Witan come from the Worcester Chronicle, 1048. "And Swegen eac sende hider, bead him fylstes ongeon Magnus Norwega cyng; þæt man sceolde sendan L. scypa him to fultume; ac hit þuhte unræd callum folce; and hit wearð þa gelet, burh þæt pe Magnus hæfde mycel scypecraft." The personal share of Godwine and Leofric in the debate comes from Florence, 1047. "Tunc comes Godwinus consilium Regi dedit ut saltem L. naves militibus instructas ei mitteret; sed quia Leofrico comiti et omni populo id non videbatur consilium, nullam ei mittere voluit."
2 Flor. Wig. 1047.
3 Snorro, Harold, 30 (Laing, iii. 29). 4 Saxo, 204. Cf. vol. i. p. 229.
5 The legendary writers confounded Swegen and Magnus, making a King of Denmark be drowned as he was setting forth to invade England. For this tale, mixed up with a story of a vision of Eadward, see Æthel. Riev. X Scriptt. 378. Alberic of Trois Fontaines (1055) improves on this by dividing Swegen into two people; "Sueno junior qui paullo post fuit submersus," and "Swanus ille nobilis, qui decem et quattuor filios habuit.” Cf. the Hebrew Chronicler's panegyric on Abijah, 2 Chron. xiii. 21.
6 See above, p. 73.
DEATH OF MAGNUS.
he never wholly lost his hold upon the country. The CHAP. VII. first act of both the new Kings was to send embassies to Their emEngland. Harold offered peace and friendship; Swegen England. again asked for armed help against Harold.1 The debate of the year before was again reopened. Godwine again Help again supported the request of his nephew, and again proposed Swegen, that fifty ships should be sent to his help. Leofric again and peace opposed the motion, and the people again with one voice with Hasupported Leofric. Help was refused to Swegen and 1048. peace was concluded with Harold.2 Swegen, despairing of English aid, seems to have sought for protection in another quarter, and to have acknowledged himself a vassal of the Empire.3
These two years seem to have been marked by several Physical phanophysical phænomena. In the former we hear of the un- mena. usual severity of the winter, accompanied by an extra- 1046-7. ordinary fall of snow.+ In the latter several of the May 1, midland shires were visited by an earthquake. We read also of epidemics among both men and beasts, and of the appearance called wild fire. A few ecclesiastical ap- Death of pointments are also recorded; but one only calls for notice. Winchester, Aug. Elfwine, Bishop of Winchester, died, and his Bishoprick 29, 1047. fell neither to Frenchman nor to Lotharingian. Stigand Stigand rose another step in the ladder of promotion by his trans
1 Flor. Wig. 1048. I insert this story with a certain amount of fear and trembling, as it reads so like a mere repetition of what happened the year before. Still the authority of Florence is high, and it is not unlikely that Swegen, in his new circumstances, might make a second application.
2 Ib. "Haroldus. . . nuntios ad Regem Eadwardum misit et pacem amicitiamque illi obtulit et recepit."
3 See below, p. 97.
Chron. Ab. 1046; Fl. Wig. 1047; Chron. Wig. 1048. It was after Candlemas, i. e. of 1047.
5 Chronn. Ab. 1048; Wig. 1049; Fl. Wig. 1048.
Chron. Wig. 1049. "pet wilde fyr on Deorbyscire micel yfel dide." Florence (1048) calls it "ignis aërius, vulgo dictus silvaticus."
CHAP. VII. lation from the humbler see of Elmham to the Bishoprick of the Imperial city.1
Ravages of As far as we can make out through the confused and Yrling, chronology of these years, it was in the year of the peace with Norway that England underwent, what we have not now heard of for many years, an incursion of Scandinavian pirates. Two chiefs, named Lothen and Yrling, came with twenty-five ships, and harried various parts of the coast. This event must have been in some way connected with the course of the war between Harold and Swegen. Probably some enterprising Wikings in the service of one or other of those princes found a moment of idleness just as the two Kings were taking possession of their crowns, and thought the opportunity a good one for an attack on England. Such an attack was doubtless unexpected, especially as such good care had been taken to keep on good terms with both the contending Kings. But possibly the more daring policy of Godwine would really have been the safer.3 Had fifty English ships, whatever their errand, been afloat in the Northern seas, Lothen and Yrling could hardly have come to plunder the shores of England. Anyhow the story shows us the sort of spirit which still reigned in the North. There were still plenty of men ready to seek their fortunes in any part of the world as soon as a moment of unwelcome
1 Chronn. Ab. 1047; Wig. 1048; Petrib. 1045; Cant. 1046; Fl. Wig. 1047. By some extraordinary confusion Florence places here the death of Eadmund, Bishop of Durham, and the succession of Eadred, which happened in 1041. See vol. i. pp. 522, 523.
2 Chron. Ab. 1048; Chron. Petrib. 1046. These clearly refer to the same event. I hardly understand Mr. Thorpe's note to his Translation of the Chronicles, p. 137. "This predatory expedition, assigned here to the year 1046, is of a much earlier date "-one seemingly before the year 1000. This is because a Lothen and an Yrling occur in the story of Olaf Tryggwesson. But the Chronicler could hardly be mistaken on such a point. Lappenberg (499. Thorpe, ii. 239) seems to have no doubt on the matter. "Godwines Rath wurde bald als der richtige erkannt." Lappenberg,
RAVAGES OF LOTHEN AND YRLING.
quiet appeared at home. Harold and Swegen at least CHAP. VII. did the world some service by finding employment for such men in warfare with one another. The Wikings harried far and wide. From Sandwich they carried off a vast booty in men, gold, and silver.1 In the Isle of Wight they must have met with more resistance, as many of the best men of the island are said to have been slain.2 In Thanet too the landfolk withstood them manfully, refused them landing and water, and drove them altogether away.3 Thence they sailed to Essex, where they plundered at their pleasure. By this time the King and the Earls had got together some ships. The Earls were doubtless Godwine Eadward and Harold, on whose governments the attack had been Earls purmade, and the words of our authorities seem to imply that sue the pirates, but Eadward was really present in person. They sailed after they es the pirates, but they were too late. The enemy had already Flanders. made his way to the common refuge alike of banished Englishmen and of foes of England. The Wikings were now safe in the havens of Flanders-of Baldwines land; there they found a ready market for the spoils of England, and thence they sailed back to their own country."
We here seem to be reading over again the history of Analogy the events which led to the first hostile relations between relations
1 I make up the details by joining the narratives of the two Chronicles. Both mention Sandwich; but the Peterborough Chronicle alone speaks of the vast booty.
2 Chron. Ab. 1048. "Man gehergode Sandwic and Wiht, and ofslohan þa betsta men be þa wæron."
3 Chron. Petrib. 1046. "And wendon þa onbuton Tenet, and woldon þær þet ilce don; ac bet landfolc hardlice wiðstodon, and forwerndon heom ægðer ge upganges ge wæteres, and aflymdon hi panon mid ealle." The refusal of water is remarkable. Probably in other cases the landfolk had to provide provisions out of sheer fear.
Chron. Petrib. u. s.
Chron. Ab. 1048. "And Eadward cining and þa eorlas foran æfter þain út mid heore scypun." Eadward had been on board the fleet once before (see p. 74), but that time he saw no service. * Chron. Petrib. 1046.