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Limen, crossed the sea with-
out gain and without honour,
but, having lost many of his
companions, he put in at the
mouth of the river Seine.

Ethelwerd 897

themselves ships there, and went southwards over sea to the Seine. Thanks be to God the army had not utterly broken down the English nation; but during the three years was it much more broken down by the mortality which broke out among cattle and among men, and most of all by this, that many of the most eminent king's-thanes in the land died during the three years: some of whom were, Swithulf bishop of Rochester, and Ceolmund alderman of Kent, and Beorhtulf alderman of Essex, and Wulfred alderman of Hamtunshire, and Ealheard bishop of Dorchester, and Eadulf the king's-thane in Sussex, and Beornwulf the 'wic-reeve' at Winchester, and Ecgulf the king's horse-thane, and many also besides these, though I have named the most famous. That same year the armies from among the East-Anglians and from among the North-humbrians harassed the land of the West-Saxons, chiefly on the south coast, by predatory bands; most of all by their æscs,' which they had built many years before. Then king Alfred commanded long ships to be built to oppose the æscs; they were full-nigh twice as long as the others; some had sixty oars, and some had more they were both swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others. They were shapen neither like the Frisian nor the Danish, but SO as it seemed to him that they would be most efficient. Then some time in the same year, there came six ships to Wight, and there did much harm, as well as in Devon, and elsewhere along the seacoast. Then the king commanded nine of the new ships to go thither, and they obstructed their passage from the port towards the outer sea. Then went they with three of their ships out against them; and three lay in the upper part of the port in the dry; the men were gone from them ashore. Then took they two of the three ships at the outer part of the port, and killed the men, and the other ship escaped; in that also the men were killed except five: they got away because the other ships were aground. They also were aground very disadvantageously three lay aground on that side of the deep on which the Danish ships were aground, and all the rest upon the other side, so that no one of them could get to the others. But when the water had ebbed many furlongs from the ships, then the Danish-men went from their three ships to the other three which were left by the tide on their side, and then they there fought against them. There was slain Lucumon the king's reeve, and Wulfheard the Frisian, and Ebbe the Frisian, and Æthelhere the Frisian, and Æthelferth the king's geneat, and of all the men, Frisians and English, seventy-two; and of the Danish-men one hundred and twenty. Then, however, the flood-tide came to the Danish ships before the Christians could shove theirs off, and they therefore rowed them out nevertheless, they were damaged to such a degree that they could not row round the Sussex land; and there the sea cast two of them on shore, and the men were led to the king at Winchester; and he commanded them to be there hanged and the men who were in the single ship came to East-Anglia, sorely wounded. That same summer no less than twenty ships, with their crews, wholly perished upon the south coast. That same year died Wulfric, the king's horse-thane; he was also 'Wealh-reeve.'

A. 898.


In this year died Ethelm, alderman of Wiltshire, nine days before midsummer [June 15] and this year died Heahstan, who was

bishop of London.

CHARTERS IN 898. 1. King ALFRED, subscribed also "Eadweard rex hanc regis donationem stabilito" and by others. II, 128.

A. 899.

FRITH, bishop of Winchester, II,

An. 898.

The emperor Arnulf died,
and Louis his son was raised


Meanwhile, after four years from the time that the abovenamed king died, there was a great discord among the English, because the foul bands of the Danes still remained throughout Northumberland.

to be king. In the same year Rollo with his army besieged the city of Chartres, but the bishop of that same city, named Walthelm, a most religious man, called Richard duke of Burgundy and Ebal count of Poictiers to his help, and bearing in his hands the shift of the blessed Virgin Mary, he drove back duke Rollo by the divine will, and freed the city.

129. 2. Another of WERFRITH,
without a date, is at II, 131. 3.
A third, of King ALFRED, and sub-

scribed "SignumÆdwardi filii regis," at II, 130, has no date, but must belong to some year about this time.

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In the summer-time; the army of the pagans, which had wintered at Quatbricge, went partly to East-Anglia, partly to Northumberland. Some of them remained there but others, getting possession of some ships, went to the river Seine before-mentioned. O with what frequent vexations, with how severe sufferings, in what a dreadful and lamentable manner, was all England annoyed, not only by the Danes, who had then occupied the parts of England, but also by those children of Satan. But it suffered much more, for three years, by a murrain among the cattle, and the death of noble men, who about that time departed this life. Among whom was Suithulf prelate of the church of Rochester, Ealheard bishop of Dorchester, Ceolmund duke of Kent, Beorhtulf duke of Essex, Eadulf the king's officer in Sussex, Beornulf provost of Winches ter, Ecgulf the king's strator, and many others, but these were the most noble.

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Thus, during the three years
aforesaid, namely from the time that the Danes had
entered the port of Limene, these did much harm to the
English, but themselves suffered much greater harm.
But in the 4th year, the army was divided: some went into
Northumberland, some into East-Anglia, and others
crossing the sea, entered the Seine.

But afterwards, some ships of the Danes came near the
shores of Wessex, and making frequent invasions, at
one time plundering, and at another fighting, they did no
small damage to the provincials of Wessex.
Of the many fights that then took place, I will relate one,
as having been attended with an unusual issue.
King Alfred caused some long ships, of 40 oars or more,
to be got ready against the aforesaid ships of the Danes.
And whilst six of the Danish ships were lying somewhere
on the coast of Devonshire, they were surprised by nine
of the king's ships. The Danes seeing this, moved
against them with three only of their ships, for the other
three were stranded and could not move because the tide
was out. Six ships, therefore, of the English fought against
three of the Danes: whilst the other three went against
the three Danish ships that were stranded. The three
Danish ships fought long and desperately against the six;
but numbers at last prevailed, and two of the Danes were
taken; the third fled, after all her crew had been killed
except five. This being done, when the English wished to
return to their companions which were near the Danish
ships on the opposite shore, they were stranded; and the Danes
seeing this, left their own ships and fought against the
English who were in the three ships. Then might you have
seen the English people of the six ships looking at the
battle, and unable to bear them help, beating their
breasts with their hands, and tearing their hair with their
nails. The English fought manfully, and the Danes
bravely attacked them. Forty two Eaglishmen were
slain, and 120 of the Danes. But the Danes slew Luche-
man the commander of the king's fleet who pressed upon
them too boldly; on which account the English
gave way a little, and the Danes almost seemed to be
victorious. But, lo! the tide came up, and floated the
vessels: the Danes got out to sea, and the 9 English ships were
too late to overtake them. But a foul wind assailed the
victorious Danes and cast two of their ships on shore :
the crews were taken, brought before the king, and hanged
at Winchester: but those who were in the third ship,
landed, much crippled, in East-Anglia.

In the same year, the army
of the pagans, settled in East-
Anglia and Northumberland,
carrying off booty along the
sea-coasts, severely harassed
the land of the West-Saxons,
mostly in long and swift gal-
leys, which themselves had
made some years before. To
oppose these other ships were
made by Alfred's orders,
twice as long, higher, swifter
and less shaky, so as to beat
the above-named ships of the
enemy in strength. When
these were sent out to sea, the king ordered them to take alive all they could, and to slay the
rest. Wherefore it came to pass that 20 ships of Danish pirates were taken alive in that same
year; of whom some were slain, some brought alive to the king, and hanged on the gallows.


In that same year, 20 ships with their crews were cast away round the northern coasts.


In the year 899

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That famous, warlike, victorious [KING]; the zealous protector of widows, pupils, orphans, and poor; skilled in the Saxon poets; dear to his own race, affable and liberal to all; endued with prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance; most patient under the infirmity, which he daily suffered; a most discreet inquisitor in executing justice; vigilant and devoted in the service of God; Alfred king of the Angul-Saxons, son of the pious king Atheluulf; having reigned 29 years and 6 months, died, in the 4th Indiction, on Wednesday the 6th before the calends of November, [OCT. 27], and was buried at Winchester in the New Minster, where with the just he awaits a glorious



A. 900.

Alfred, truly so called, a man
most strenuous in all things
in battle, and the noble king
of the West-Saxons, but pru-
dent and religious and most
wise, this year, to the great
sorrow of all his people, went
the way of all flesh, on the
7th before the calends of
November [OCT. 26] in the
29 and half 'th year of his
reign in the 51st year of his
age, Indiction 6.
He was
buried becomingly and with
kingly honour in the royal
city of Winchester, in the
church of St Peter prince of
the apostles. His tomb also
is still extant, made of the
most precious porphyry

CHARTERS IN 900. None.

RED duke of Mercia, II, 136. 2.
Anonymous, II, 133.

The first of these, if given after Oct.
26, when king Alfred died, belongs to

the reign of his son Edward the Elder.

The latter furnishes no clue to its
exact date. Three other Charters,
found at II, 135, 138, 140, 141, bear
the date of 901, and the name of Ed-
ward they were consequently given
after Oct. 25, 901.


King Alfred, having reigned
28 years and half over all
England, except those parts
which were subject to the
Danes, felt the sting of death.
Of his toilsome rule, and
irremediable afflictions, we
have thought it right to

speak in versification:

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Lastly, in the same year,
king Alfred departed out of
this world;

that immoveable pillar of
the Western Saxons,
man full of justice, bold in
arms, learned in speech, and,
above all other things, im-
bued with the divine instruc-

For he had translated into
his own language, out of
Latin, unnumbered volumes,
of so varied a nature, and
so excellently, that the sor-
rowful book of Boethius
seemed, not only to the
learned, but even to those
who heard it read, as it were,

brought to life again. The monarch died on the seventh day before the feast of All Saints [OCT. 25], and his body rests in peace in the city of Winton. Pray, O reader, to Christ our Redeemer, that he will save his soul!

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Innate nobility hath given thee honour,
Brave Alfred; and thy honour hath brought toil,
Thy toil hath given thee lasting reputation.
Joy mixed with grief was thine, hope blent with fear,
When victor, thou didst fear to fight o' the morrow;
Beaten, wast ready for tomorrow's fight,

Some of the MSS. of Asser re-
cord, in a note written by a later
hand, that king Alfred died on the
26th of October, A. D. 900, in the thir-
tieth of his reign "The different
dates assigned to the death of Al-
fred,' says Sir Francis Palgrave,
"afford a singular proof of the un-
certainty arising from various modes
of computation. The Saxon Croni-
cle and Florence of Worcester agree
in placing the event in 901. The
first six nights before All Saints; '
the last, with more precision, 'Indic-
tione quarta, et Feria quarta, 5 Cal. Nov. Simeon of Durham, in 899,
and the Saxon Chronicle, in another passage, in 900. The concurrents
of Florence of Worcester seem to afford the greatest certainty, and
the date of 901 has therefore been preferred.",

Thy robes dropp'd sweat, thy sword dropp'd blood, and shewed,
How heavy task it was to be a king.

Through all earth's climes none but thyself e'er lived,
With power to breathe 'neath such calamities.
Defeat ne'er struck the sword from his hand's grasp,
Nor could the sword cut short his thread of life.
But now his toils of life and rule are done,
And may Christ give him rest and rule for ever.




Although the researches of English and Continental Antiquaries prove the very close resemblance in many respects between the manners and customs of the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, one vast difference is clearly apparent; namely, the constitution of their mints. While the coinage of the Franks consisted, for the far greater part, of gold, that of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, with the exception of the styca of copper, struck in the mints of Northumbria only, consisted almost exclusively of silver, of which the sole denominations that have come down to us, are the penny and the half-penny, very few specimens, however, of the latter being known.

Ruding, in his Annals of the coinage of Great Britain, has the following remarks: "Those, who deny that the Saxons possessed any knowledge of the art of coinage before they landed in Britain, will find it extremely difficult to point out the source from whence they derived it after their arrival; for the Anglo-Saxon money bears not, either in form, type or weight, the least resemblance to those coins which at that time were the current specie of this Island."

After observing that "the barbarous workmanship of the British coins could not have excited their attention," he expresses his surprise that the Britons should have continued their own rude method of coining "in preference to the beautiful specimens of Roman art, which were constantly before their eyes." 17


It is very clear from this that the laborious author of the Annals had but slight practical acquaintance with the subject, however valuable his work may be regarded as a compilation from written documents. To the general reader a detailed description of the various rude coins which must have been struck and circulated in this country after the departure of the Romans, would be tedious, and, without the assistance of illustrations, wholly impracticable. Long ere the once masters of the world withdrew for ever from their Island possession, their coins had ceased to be "beautiful specimens of art," and long previous to the introduction of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons, they attempted to copy the degenerate types of the Roman money.

Nor was the desire to imitate better examples abandoned on the introduction of Christianity, as we may perceive in some of the pennies of Edweard the first, on which is an evident attempt to copy the representation of the gate of the prætorian camp as found on the coins of Rome, from the reign of Diocletian to that of Theodosius. A coin of Ciolwulf, found at Preston, furnishes still stronger evidence, since the reverse is a palpable copy of the common reverse of the gold coins of Valentinian, on which are represented the two sitting figures of the emperors crowned by Victory hovering above them.'

It is thus evident that the Anglo-Saxons did not disdain the best models of coinage then existing, and that the rudeness of their own money is not attributable to an unwillingness to copy but rather to a want of ability to execute coins equal to the rude examples of the Roman currency at its worst period.

As regards the weight of the Anglo-Saxon penny, it was originally of 24 grains, hence the term " penny weight." Now the Quinarius or half denarius of the Roman Empire, from the time of Arcadius and Honorius to the reign of Justin, is of very common occurrence even at this day, and no doubt circulated abundantly throughout the Roman dominions. It weighs on an average 24 grains, a fact which leads to the inference that the Saxon penny was accommodated in weight to the Roman coins which must have continued in circulation long after they were minted, and were pro

(1) This coin is engraved in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. v, p. 10. It is not unlikely that the Victory here represented is intended by the Anglo-Saxon artist to represent the third personage of the Trinity: see on this subject a note by the writer in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. xii, p. 79.

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