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Monkton and chaplain of Lord Latimer, was said to be of very dissolute life and lewd conversation, and to wear great bumbasted breeches cut and drawn out with sarcenet and taffety, and great ruffs with laces of gold and silk. And of late he said Divine Service in the Minster in his coat, without gown or cloke, with a long sword by his side. He was also vehemently suspected to be a notable fornicator, and had been taken abroad in the town by the Wakeman with lewd women, and he used to dance very offensively at ale houses and marriages. But he denied it all. Anyhow, it would seem that one way or other, during the reign of Elizabeth, the church in Ripon, as elsewhere, was in very evil case. And this state of things continued until the time of James I, under whom the chapter was reconstituted, and re-endowed to a great extent out of the old endowments. It now consisted of a dean, sub-dean, and six prebendaries, with two vicars choral, organist, parish clerk, six lay-clerks, six choristers, and a verger.3
The chapter was again remodelled when the collegiate church rose to cathedral rank by the formation of the new bishopric in 1836. The dean and prebendaries were thenceforth to be styled dean and canons, the latter to be eventually reduced in number by suspension of vacant canonries, from six to four, and the sub-deanery was to be suspended at the next avoidance. As in other cathedrals of the New Foundation, twenty-four honorary canons were added about 1860. The two vicars were continued under the name of minor canons, and the rest of the officers remained as before. 4 Such is the constitution of the church at the present time, though the chapter have augmented the staff by providing for a succentor and a choir-chaplain.
We have now touched on various phases in the history of the church of Ripon during about 1,250 years. I hope I have not detained you too long. I would gladly have made this paper much shorter or much longer, but I could hardly make it shorter without omitting matters of great interest and importance, as it seemed to me, nor could I have made it longer without wearying my hearers.
P.S.-It should have been mentioned above that the temporary offices of Keeper of the Fabric, Treasurer, Subtreasurer, and Chamberlain, were usually held by chaplains.
1 M.R., ii1, 345.
3 M.R., ii, 259-325, 354.
THE BATTLE OF BRUNANBURH.
By Rev. S. BARING GOULD.
ATHELSTAN, who had succeeded his father in 925, had obtained such a reputation for wisdom and valour, that Sigtrigg, King of Northumbria, had sought his alliance, and was given in marriage a sister of the English monarch. He died in 927. Athelstan, seizing the opportunity, immediately annexed Northumbria to his domains. Sigtrigg had left two sons, Olaf Cuaran, or “the Sandaled," and Guthrod. Immediately after the death of their father, both hastened to enforce their claims. But they were unable to succeed, and Olaf fled to Ireland, after having held his own for just six months. Guthrod surrendered to Athelstan, and then escaped. He died in 934. In that same year, Athelstan undertook a campaign in the north. He led his army into Strathclyde, routed Owain of Cumbria, and marched through the territory of Constantine, King of the Scots, whom he compelled to submission, and to acknowledge him as his over-lord.
As he was returning south he encountered Eric Bloodaxe, who had been expelled from his kingdom of Norway, and Athelstan in that same year, 934, appointed him his viceroy in York.
But the quiet life in York did not satisfy Eric; moreover, the people disliked him, and after a year he mounted his ships along with his followers, and spent his time in piracy. Meanwhile Constantine meditated revolt. He had married his daughter to Olaf Cuaran, and when Olaf suggested to him an attack upon England, and revenge upon Athelstan, he 'was ready to join in the undertaking.
The Aigla or Saga of Egill Skallagrimsson gives a very graphic account of the defeat of the allies by Athelstan, but it does not agree with the account of the battle of Brunanburh, as given by William of Malmesbury, and I cannot but think that the English historian has confounded two battles.
The Aiglal was commtted to writing towards the end of the twelfth century, and William of Malmesbury wrote in 1142.
1 The Egils Saga was published at 1809; again at Reykjavik, 1856. Danish Hrappsey in 1782 ; again at Copenhagen, and Latin translations in 1738 and 1839.
Previous to the writing of the Aigla, the story had been told traditionally in the family descended from Egill. William of Malmesbury seems to have based his account on ballads. In the Saga is an important account of the condition of affairs in Northumbria at the period (926–8). “Olaf the Redi was the name of a king in Scotland. He was Scot on his father's side, but was Danish on that of his mother, and he was of the stock of Ragnar Lodbrog. He was a mighty man. Scotland is considered to be a third part of England, and Northumbria constitutes a fifth. It lies north, towards Scotland, and on the east side of England. Danish kings held rule over it from ancient times. York was the capital. This Northumbrian realm Athelstan now acquired. He placed over it two earls, Alfgeir and Gudrek (Godrich). They were placed there as
( Margraves to defend the country against the attacks of the Scots and Danes and Norsemen, who ravaged the land, for they claimed a right to it, for in Northumbria they were the only colonists. Moreover, the majority of the inhabitants were Danes on either the father's or the mother's side, and many on both sides. Towards the frontier of the Britons (Welsh) were placed two brothers, Ring and Adils, and they paid tribute to King Athelstan, and were bound to attend him when summoned to war, and were required to stand in the forefront of the host with those about the royal standard. These brothers were great warriors, and not particularly young men. King Alfred had taken away the name of king from all those who hitherto had paid tribute. Now they were entitled earls, who before had been kings or the sons of kings. And the same rule remained in force after his death, under his son Edward. But, inasmuch as Athelstan came to the throne when quite young, men thought that they could take liberties; and many who had previously been submissive turned restless.
“Olaf, the Scots' King,' drew together a large force, and marched south into England. When he entered Northumbria he began to ravage. Now, when the earls who ruled the country learned this, they gathered their forces and went against King Olaf. When they met, a great battle ensued, and it so fell
1 There is a mistake here, partly owing 2 Another mistake. Olaf Cuaran, on to the confusion between Scots and his father's side, was descended from Irish, which latter till the tenth century Ragnar Lodbrog. Constantine II was were called Scots. Olaf Cuaran, or, as son of a Scottish father. the Norse writers call him, " the Red," 3 He was not quite young," but was king of the Norse colony of Dublin.
aged 30. The Saga writer omits mention of Constantine.
4 Understand Constantine. VOL. XXII.
out that Olaf gained the victory. Earl Gudrek fell, and Alfgeir fled with most of his men. Alfgeir made no stand anywhere, and King Olaf subjected the whole of Northumbria to himself.
“Alfgeir went to Athelstan, and told him how ill it had fared with him. And when King Athelstan heard that so mighty an army had invaded his land, he at once summoned troops to his aid, and sent word to the earls and other men in authority. Then the King proceeded with those he had collected against the Scots. But inasmuch as the news spread that Olaf had gained a great victory, and had brought into subjection a larger slice of England than that possessed by Athelstan, many men of note flocked to him.
“Ring and Adils drew together their forces, and went over to the side of Olaf. And his army swelled to a great size. Now, when Athelstan learned this defection, he summoned a council of all his chief men and advisers; and they examined into the circumstances, and with one accord declared that Alfgeir had behaved in an unworthy manner, and merited to have his honours taken from him. And the council further advised that Athelstan should go south through England, and collect all available forces to accompany him in his campaign in the north.”
The plan of the invasion, as devised by the Confederates, was ingenious. Olaf Cuaran was to lead the Danes and Northmen of Ireland and the Isles, along with their Irish allies, in a fleet that was to sail to Cornwall, double the Land's End, rouse the West Welsh to revolt, and coasting along the south, ravage there, causing a diversion, whilst Constantine advanced along the Watling - street, the great road of communication between Berwick, York, and London, and unite with Owain of Cumbria, who was coming along the old Roman road from Carlisle to York.
Then Olaf, after having thrown Wessex into confusion, and so delaying Athelstan, would hurry north to the mouth of the Humber, and effect a junction with Constantine at or near York.
Such seems to me to have been the plan, and in its execution we have an explanation of what has perplexed historians, for there are two entirely distinct accounts of the great battle that led to the complete rout of the invaders. If we accept the solution that there were two battles, one in the south and one in the north, the difficulties disappear. By all accounts, Athelstan hastened through Wessex to collect forces before proceeding against Constantine. Whilst so doing, he was alarmed
, by hearing that the Britons of Dumnonia were in revolt, He heard, moreover, that a fleet of 615 ships, filled with Danes. Norsemen, and Irish, was on its way up the Channel, and soon after he learned that it had entered the mouth of the Axe, and was ravaging on the frontiers of Dorset. Athelstan at once despatched a body of Norse mercenaries, under the command of two Icelanders, Thorolf and Egill, and, against the advice of his council, the discredited Alfgeir, at the head of a Mercian contingent, to hold Constantine in check, but with instructions on no account to engage in a pitched battle. They were to use every artifice short of a battle to delay the advance of the enemy. He himself mustered all he could call together to attack Olaf and his force, and quell the insurrection in the west.
He fell on the marauding band from Ireland near Axminster, the invaders camping on what is to this day called the Danes' Hill. Olaf was defeated, and fled to his ships, but in the engagement the two Ethelings and the Bishop of Sherborne were killed, together with a whole contingent of Sherborne men who had come up under their bishop. Another prelate who headed a contingent was the Bishop of Wilton. Immediately after the defeat of the Danes from Dublin, Athelstan had to put down the revolt of the West Britons, and he could not immediately hurry into Northumbria to prevent the junction of Olaf with Constantine. Olaf sailed through the Straits of Dover, and arriving in the mouth of the Humber, as Simeon of Durham tells us, there disembarked the remainder of his army.
In the interim, Thorolf and Egill, together with the incapable Alfgeir, were hovering on the borders of Northumbria. They were not in a position to prevent the disembarkation of Olaf with his Danes and Irishmen, nor their junction with the united host of Constantine and Owain. Perhaps they were taken by surprise at the arrival.
To gain their end - delay till Athelstan should arriveThorolf and Egill sent a message to Olaf, purporting to come from Athelstan, appointing a meeting on Vinheath, to which they now advanced. Olaf, with his shattered forces, had not been able to attempt the reduction of the walled city of York ; and Alfgeir, Thorolf, and Egill, by proceeding north, hoped to cover it as Constantine had not as yet reached so far south.