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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

So many Histories of England already exist, that any fresh work of

that class may be reasonably required to offer some new feature to establish a claim on public notice. An endeavour has been made to provide this, by devoting a larger share of attention than is usually done to the history of our island before the Norman invasion, an event which by some writers seems to be considered as almost the beginning of authentic British history. They implicitly receive the necessarily hasty and imperfect statements of Cæsar as containing all that need be known of our earlier state; pervert a passage from Milton into an authority for dismissing the events of the six hundred years of Anglo-Saxon rule as "no more worthy of attention than the combats of crows and kites ;" and are content to see in the victors of Hastings and their iron institutions, the origin of all that is desirable in a state, and the only sources of our country's elevation.

In this work different views have been taken of these matters, and as they are based on the statements of the most nearly contemporary writers, they will perhaps be regarded as sound. The passages from Greek and Latin writers, accumulated with so much diligence by the Editors of our only National historical work a, afford most valuable corrections or elucidations of the statements of Cæsar; and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Anglo-Saxon Laws detail with minuteness and indisputable truth the state of our Anglo-Saxon commonwealth. These have been carefully analyzed, and the following pages contain a summary of their contents; while from Northern sources some brief notices have been drawn which may serve to correct the ordinary erroneous impressions regarding the Northmen, who had so great an influence on the fortunes of Britain for many centuries, and several of whose institutions still prevail among us.

Two highly important documents, Domesday Book and Magna Charta, will be found described as fully as the limits of the work would permit ; valuable corrections of various kinds, (particularly of dates,) and some facts hitherto little known, have been derived from the Close and the

a

"Monumenta Historica Britannica," of the historical publications since issued edited by Messrs. Petrie, Sharp, and by the Government, pp. 570-575.] Hardy. [See a notice of this work, and

Patent Rolls, from the Rolls of Parliament and Parliamentary Writs, but especially from the Statutes of the Realm; and, to meet in some measure a deficiency often felt in perusing history, brief biographies have been given of many eminent persons.

The Illustrations, mainly derived from the trustworthy sources of coins, great seals, and monuments, will be found to present a tolerably complete series of the portraits, arms, and devices of each ruler, and may indicate the importance of some acquaintance with heraldry as an aid to the study of history.

The work, as its name implies, is mainly devoted to the affairs of England, but notices are given at suitable times of the course of events in Scotland and the Isles, in Wales, and in Ireland; these are necessarily brief, but being drawn from the contemporary Annals, Chronicles, and Laws of each country, they may perhaps be sufficient to shew what degree of connexion formerly existed between the long independent and often hostile States which now happily unite to form the British Empire. Esto perpetua!

Since the above was written a volume of Oxford Essays has appeared, one of which, from the pen of Mr. Froude, is "On the best Means of teaching English History" the coincidence of its main recommendation with the plan that has been followed in this work is both remarkable and gratifying :

"We recommend," he says, ". . . . the study of the old Statute-book; in which, notwithstanding all that is thought and believed of the dependent position of Parliament, the true history of this English nation substantially lies buried, -a history, different indeed from any which has been

offered to us as such. Every thing of greatest consequence is to be found there. All great movements, political and religious, are treated of there; and all those questionable personal transactions which have appeared so perplexing are there. . . . We believe, for our own part, that, for a serviceable study of English History, the Statutes are as the skeleton is to the body; that in them is contained the bone and marrow of the whole matter, and around them as a sustaining and organising structure the flesh and colour of it can alone effectually gather itself."

ERRATA.

p. 100, notes, read "bank."

p. 154, note, read “Aug. 6."

p. 206, col. 2, 1. 4, read "leads."

p. 251, col. 2, 1. 27, read " James III."

p. 300, note, add “Guildford" as a suffragan bishop.

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Remains of a Roman House in Bri-
tain: Wheatley, Oxon
Roman Sepulchral Urns
Brass Coin of Severus

Gold Coins of Tasciovanus and of
Cunobelin .

Brass Coins of Cunobelin, found at Chesterford

Silver Coin of Claudius

Brass Coin of Hadrian

Brass Coin of Antoninus Pius.

Brass Coin of Commodus

Brass Coins of Caracalla and of Geta.

Gold, Silver, and Brass Coins of
Carausius

Gold and Brass Coins of Allectus
Figure of St. Alban, from a brass
in St. Alban's Abbey
Roman Masonry, the Jewry Wall,
Leicester

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fessor.

Saxon Sceatta

Armour of the Norman era

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Gold Coin attributed to Edward the Confessor

Statue of St. Cuthbert, with St. Oswald's head.

Dedication Stone, Jarrow Church,

A. D. 685

Northman's Armlet

Arms ascribed to Egbert
Ethelwulf's Ring

Edmund of East Anglia; from a
painted panel of the 15th century.
Alfred's Jewel, obverse and profile
Thyra's Cup.

Arms ascribed to Edward the Con

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6

7

ib.

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II

ib.

14

ib.

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24

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34

38

40

Great Seal of William the Conqueror, 85; Arms ascribed to Great Seal of William Rufus, 96; Arms ascribed to

Arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Great Seal of Henry I., 102; Arms ascribed to.

Henry I. and Queen Maud, from Rochester Cathedral

41

44

46

49

Badge of the Templars

Cross of the Hospitallers

Great Seal of Stephen, 108; Arms ascribed to

ib. Arms and Badge of Richard I.

Arms of William Longespee

Arms and Badge of Henry II. Great Seal of Richard I.

Arms of the Cinque Ports

Arms of Geoffrey, earl of Anjou

The Escarboucle and Planta Genista

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Great Seal of Henry II. .

Henry II. and Eleanor of Guienne, from their Monuments at Fontevraud.

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Richard I., from his Monument at
Fontevraud
Berengaria, from her Monument at
Lespan

Great Seal of John.

32 John, from his Monument in Worcester Cathedral.

Isabella of Angoulême, from her
Monument at Fontevraud

Arms of Richard, earl of Cornwall.
and Badge of John
of Robert Fitz-Walter

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Edmund of Lancaster

Henry III., from his Monument in

Westminster Abbey

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PAGE

86

97

100

103

103

105 106

109 113 114 ib.

115

116

ib.

117 126

127

128

ib.

135

136

ib.

ib.

137

139

143

ib.

144

145

ib.

ib.

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John of Northampton .

De la Pole, earl of Suffolk

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Seal of Bohun, earl of Hereford

Great Seal of Edward III.
Edward III. and Philippa of Hain-

ault, from their Monuments, West-
minster Abbey

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