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871 Florence


Simeon cutting down the

enemy before and behind, the pagans on the other hand cut them down also; resisting with hostile rage. But, alas! oh grief! the enemies of the English that day obtained the

victory: fled, the pagans obtained the

Ethelwlf, also, of Berkshire, victory, and the aforesaid

who before had raged as a earl Æthelulf was among

lion in battle, then fell with the slain.

the rest of the faithful in

Christ. The English people, stung with grief and shame, implored the aid of the angels, that they would deign to grant them the assistance of the

divine support. Roused by this calamity, the And after 4 days, king Again then, after 4 days, they Christians, in shame and in- Adelred and his brother

lead their troops against the dignation, within four days Alfred fought again at Esces

aforesaid enemies; they seize assembled all their forces, dune, against all their army

their arms, and post their and again encountered the which had been divided into legions at

a place called pagan army at a place called 2 parts. In division Etscesdun, which may rever

Æscesdun (ASHDOWN,] which means the “ Hill of and Aldene, against whom were the pagan kings Basreg ently be interpreted in the

Latin tongue Mons FRAXINI the Ash." The pagans had fought king Edelred, and he

“ The Ash-Mount.” There, divided themselves into two slew king Basreg: in the famous men, and brave in bodies, and began to prepare other division were the pagan battle, come forth to fight defences, for they had two consuls, against whoin fought

with all their force and with kings and many earls, so Alfred the king's brother, full good will. The Danes they gave half of

also, cunning as they are, the army to the two kings,

dividing themselves into two and the other half to all their

bands, fight bravely with earls. Which the Christians

their men. They also had perceiving, divided their

two kings and many dukes, army also into two troops,

who, using caution, gave half and also began to construct

of the army to the two kings, defences. But Alfred

and half to all the dukes. The English, perceiving this,

themselves also appoint two marched up promptly with his men to give

bodies, and form machines them battle ; for king Æthered remained a long time in his and defences of warriors. tent in prayer, hearing the mass, and said that he would not But king Elfred goes forth leave it, till the priest had done, or abandon the divine pro- with his legions most readily tection for that of men. And he did so too, which after- to battle, knowing without a wards availed him much with the Almighty, as we shall de- doubt, that victory would clare more fully in the sequel.

not lie with a multitude of Now the Christians had determined that king Æthered, with men, but in the pity and his men, should attack the two pagan kings, but that his mercy of God. King Ethelbrother Ælfred, with his troops, should take the chance of red, also, was in his tent at war against all the earls. Things being so arranged, the prayer, zealously hearing the king remained a long time in prayer, and the pagans came mass, and the things which up rapidly to fight. Then Ælfred, though possessing a sub- are of God. These holy mysordinate authority, could no longer support the troops of teries were of much benefit to the enemy, unless he retreated or charged upon them with- the king and the Christian out waiting for his brother. At length he bravely led his people, as will be shewn in troops against the hostile army, as they had before arranged,

sequel. but without awaiting his brother's arrival; for he relied in Now the Christian people and the divine counsels, and forming his men into a dense pha- the English had devoutly

Saron Thronicle


Ethelwerd 871 lanx, marched on at once to

meet the foe. But here I must inform those BROMPTON. When mass was who are ignorant of the fact, fully ended, the aforesaid king Ethel

dred hastened speedily into the that the field of battle was not battle. And although the Danes equally advantageous to both had pre-occupied the higher position

of a mountain, he went up with parties. The pagans occupi- his Christians from below, and deed the higher ground, and the feated his enemies, and with the Christians came up from lance which he carried in his hand,

he manfully slew their king Oseg, below. There was also a and deprived of life another king single thorn-tree, of stunted with the sword which he bore at his

growth, but we have ourselves
never seen it. Around this
tree the opposing armies
came together with loud
shouts from all sides, the one
party to pursue their wicked
course, the other to fight for
their lives, their dearest ties,
and their country.

when both armies had fought
long and bravely, at last the
pagans, by the divine judg-
ment, were no longer able to
bear the attacks of the Chris-
tians, and having lost great
part of their army, took to a
disgraceful flight. One of
their two kings, and five earls
were there slain, together with
many thousand pagans, who
fell on all sides, covering
with their bodies the whole

plain of Ashdown.*

* The site of this place is disputed,
but it was probably Ashdown near


and there earl Sidroc the elder There fell in that battle king But it is proper that I should was slain, and earl Sidroc the Bægsceg, earl Sidroc the elder declare the names of those younger, and earl Osbearn, and earl Sidroc the younger, chiefs who fell there : king and earl Fræna, and earl earl Obsbern, earl Fræna, and Berse (Bagsac), the veteran Hareld :

earl Hareld; and all the pa- Sihtrix [Sidroc] their consul and both divisions of the gan army pursued its flight, the younger Sihtrix (Sidroc] army were put to flight and not only until night but until also, the consul Osbearn, the many thousands slain : and the next day, even until they consul Fræna, the consul they continued fighting until reached the stronghold from Harald ; and, so to speak, night.

which they had sallied. all the flower of the barbaThe Christians followed, rian youth was there slain, slaying all they could reach, so that neither before nor until it became dark, since was ever such destruc

tion known since the Saxons first gained Britain by their


871 Florence


Simeon lanx, marched on at once to

made up their minds to wage meet the foe.

war bravely against their eneAt length king Æthered, hav

mies, and that the brave ing finished his prayers, came

king Ethelred, should fight up, and, having invoked the

with his myriads against the great Ruler of the world,

legions of the princes, namely plunged into the fight.

one king of the English But here I must inform those

against two of the Danes: who are ignorant of the fact, but king Elfred, with his dukes, fellow-soldiers, satraps, that the field of battle was

and people, was to take the lot of war, as had been deternot equally advantageous to mined, against all the dukes of the pagans. both parties.

The pagans These things having been arranged on both sides, whilst occupied the higher ground, king Ethelred was delaying a long time in prayer, and the and the Christians came up pagans, ready for battle, had come quickly up to the place from below. There was also of deadly strife, Elfred, at that time second in the kinga single thorn-tree, of stunted dom, was not able any longer to bear the hostile troops, growth.

unless he got the better of them either by battle or by Around this tree the opposing death. On å sudden, starting up in his valour, he rushed armies came together with with the holy squadrons of the English on the assembled loud shouts from all sides, the multitudes of the Danes, the king came sheathed in arms one party to pursue their and in prayer, who seeing that his brother's army was wicked course, the other to beautifully drawn up, went forth like a warlike Judas to fight for their lives, their the battle. They fought on both sides with manly intent, dearest ties, and their coun

and fell there by fifties, by hundreds, and by thousands. try. And when both armies Those who fell for their country, were carried, as we may had fought long and bravely, believe, to the country of eternal happiness : but the at last the pagans, by the di- others were carried to him of whom it is said, that “He is vine judgment, were no longer the head of all iniquity.” The kings not only exhorte 1 able to bear the attacks of their brave people with words, but also cut down the Christians, and having their enemies with warlike valour. At last the Danes, lost great part of their army seeing that the troops of their allies had fallen, were distook to a disgraceful flight. turbed, were astonished, and were shaken; and boundless One of their two kings, and fear took hold of them. For the Danes were stricken with five earls were there slain,

terror within their hearts, and no longer able to bear the together with many thousand attacks of the English in the engagement. They took to a pagans, who fell on all

disgraceful flight, and throwing away their swords, held sides, covering with their

out their right hands, and asked for peace. The kings, bodies the whole plain of stretching out their swords, with difficulty appeased their Ashdown.

warlike people. The vulgar herd ran this way and that way, and the English people pursued them throughout the whole day. Many thousands were slain on that day, whose death the pious kings beholding, gave boundless thanks to

God, who had given them such a palm of victory on that day. There, also, fell king Bergsecg and these

dukes with him : that old There fell in that battle king And he slew 5 consuls, Sid- earl Sidroc, to whom may

be Bagsegc, earl Sidroc the elder

roc the elder, and Sidroc the applied that saying The anand earl Sidroc the younger, younger, and Osbearn and

There earl Osbearn, earl Freana, Frena and Harolde: and fell, also, duke Sidroc the and earl Harald ; and the their army was put to flight, younger, and duke Osbern, whole pagan army pursued and many thousands slain; duke Frana, and duke Harits flight, not only until the

and the battle lasted until the ald, with their troops, who, night but until the next day,


choosing the broad and spa even until they reached the

cious way, went down into stronghold from which they

the depths of the lake. They had sallied.

knew not the


of teaching nor understood its paths : it was kept far away from

their faces.


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Saron Chronicle




And about fourteen days After fourteen days had Fourteen days after, they after this, king Æthered and elapsed, king Æthered, with again took courage and a seÆlfred his brother fought his brother Ælfred, again cond battle was fought at a against the army at Basing, joined their forces and place called Basing : the barand there the Danes obtained marched to Basing to fight barians came and took part the victory.

with the


enemy over against them ; the fight together from all began, and hope passed from quarters, and after a long the one side to the other ; contest gained the victory. the royal army was deceived,

the enemy had the victory,

but gained no spoils.


and all he fourd there.

And about two months after

Furthermore, after 2 months this, king Æthered and Æl

the aforesaid king Æthered fred his brother fought against

renewed the battle, and with the army at Meretun; and

him was his brother Alfred, they were in two bodies, and

at Merantune [MERTON), they put both to flight, and

against all the army of the

BROMPTON. And then from during a great part of the day that place (MERTON) a tyrant of the

barbarians, and a large numwere victorious; and there Danes named Somerled, marching

ber was slain on both sides : was great slaughter on either as far as Reading destroyed the city the barbarians obtained the hand; but the Danes had After this, Etheldred king of the

victory. possession of the place of West Saxons fought with him, and

having been there mortally wounded carnage.

died on the 9th before the calends of

May (AP. 23] in the 5th year of his And there bishop Heahmund reign, and was buried at Wymburn. Bishop Heahmund there fell was slain, and many good

by the sword, and his body men.

lies buried at Cægineshamme WESTM. Hamund bishop of Sherborne, to whom suc

[KEYNSHAM). Many others ceeded Æthelhege.

also fell or fled in that battle, concerning whom it seems to be a loss of time to speak

more minutely at present.

10 There came a summerAnd after this battle

After this battle, another army innumerable to Reading there came a great sumor

army came from beyond the and were eager to fight against lida’ to Reading.



sea, and joined them.

the army of the West-Angles : to their aid also came those who had already long time

been ravaging.

Ard after this, over Easter, The same year, after Easter, 1 Lastly, after the above-menking Æthered died; and he the aforesaid king Æthered, tioned battle, and after the reigned five years, and his having bravely, honourably, Easter of the same year, died body lies at Winburne

and with good repute, govern- king Ethered, from whose minster. ed his kingdom five years,

family I derive my origin. through much tribulation, went the way of all flesh, and was buried in Winborne Minster, where he awaits the coming of the Lord, and the first resurrection with the


871 Florence


Simeon When this glorious battle was ended, the kings, and all their people were filled with immense joy, seeing the flight of the Danes and the

bravery of the English. After fourteen days had Again, after 14 days, king After the lapse of 14 days, the elapsed, king Æthered, with Adelred and his brother Al- excellent king Ethelred, not his brother Alfred, again fred fought with the army at knowing that the year of joined their forces and Basing, and the Danes con- jubilee brings with it forgivemarched to Basing to fight


ness, aided by the trusty with the pagans. The enemy

help of his brother, got togetogether from all ther his army, gathered his spoils, and distributed arms and quarters, and after a long many gifts to his fellow-soldiers. Those leaders of the people contest gained the victory., knew for certain that commonwealths will be safe, if those

who study wisdom rule them, or if those who rule them study wisdom. Again the Danes and English were gathered together for battle, and when their utmost fury had been

put forth, the pagans almost gained the victory.


Again, when 2 months had Again, after 2 months king passed, king Æthered with Adelred and his brother Alhis brother Alfred, fought fred fought with the army at with the pagans, who had Merton, and many fell on divided themselves into 2 both sides, and the Danes, bands, at Meretun, and for

after having long been beaten
a long time were victorious, back, at last conquered.
having routed all their ene-
mies. But they came back
to the fight, many fell on
both sides, and the pagans,
gaining the victory, were
masters of the field of death.

There was slain bishop Ed-
mund and many nobles of


After this battle a great army
came in the summer to

Reading The same year, after Easter, This year, after Easter, died in the same year, king Ethelthe aforesaid king Æthered, king Adelred, and was buri- red full of years and perfect having bravely, honourably, ed at Winburnhamminster in goodness, after fighting so and with good repute,govern- (W1mBOURN-Minster); he many famous battles, began ed his kingdom five years,

reigned 5 years. to enjoy the happiness of a through much tribulation,

future life and everlasting went the way of all flesh on

kingdom with the King of the 9th before the calends of

all ages in the land of the May (Ap. 23), and

living. buried in Winborne Minster, where he awaits the coming of the Lord, and the first resurrection with the



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