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A.D. 832. The Northmen ravage Sheppy.

A.D. 833. The Northmen defeat Egbert at Carrum (probably Charmouth in Dorsetshire).

A.D. 835. The Northmen unite with the West Welsh (the Britons in Cornwall and Devon), but are defeated at Hengestdown, in Cornwall, by Egbert. A.D. 837. Egbert dies; Ethelwulfsucceeds.


ETHELWULF is said, though on very doubtful authority, to have been designed for the Church, but at his father's death he succeeded to the kingdom, and granted the administration of the southern and eastern portions to his brother Athelstan. Ethelwulf's reign is chiefly remarkable for the ceaseless ravages of the Northmen, and his own journey to Rome, and liberal benefactions to the Church. By his first wife, Osburga, the daughter of Oslac, of the stem of Cerdic, he left four sons, who all became kings, and two daughters. His second marriage, and the coronation of his young queen, Judith, gave deep offence to his subjects, and he was obliged to cede the greater part of his

dominions to his eldest son. Ethelwulf died shortly after, and was buried at Winchester 9.


a In the medal room of the British Museum is preserved an interesting memento of this king. It is a gold ring bearing his name, and having the cavities filled with a bluish-black enamel. It was found in a cart-rut in the parish of Laverstock, in Hampshire, and its weight is 11 dwts. 14 grains.

Ethelwulf's Ring.

A.D. 837. Athelstan, brother of Ethelwulf, rules the country of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and East Anglia. The Northmen defeated at Southampton; they are successful at Portland.

A.D. 838. Wiglaf of Mercia dies; Beorhtwulf succeeds.

Kent, East Anglia, and Lincolnshire ravaged by the Northmen.

The Northmen establish themselves in Dublin.

A.D. 839. "This year there was great slaughter at London, and at Cwantawic (probably Canterbury) and Rochester."

A.D. 840. Ethelwulf defeated at Carrum (Charmouth) by the Northmen.


About the time that the states of the Heptarchy were brought under one head by Egbert, similar changes were effected among the other nations of the island. The Scots closed a long struggle by the total subjugation of the Picts, and thus laid the foundation of the North British monarchy. The lands occupied by the unconquered Britons beyond the Severn and the Wye had long been in a state of anarchy, there being as many kings as districts, but in the year 840, Roderic (afterwards known as the Great), the descendant of the last chief rulers of the northern and eastern districts, succeeded to power, and marrying the heiress of the south he brought the whole country under subjection. He, however, undid his own work by again dividing it among his three sons, giving Gwynneth (North Wales) to Anarawd, Dynevor (South Wales) to Cadel, and Powys

(the eastern portion, then extending far into what is now reckoned England) to Mervin'. Roderic ordained that Gwynneth should be the paramount state, to which the others should pay tribute, but this arrangement did not endure; civil war broke out, Powys was seized by the ruler of Dynevor, and that state, under Howel Dda, about 910 became the chief kingdom.

A.D. 842 (circa). The Scots, under Kenneth II., subdue the Picts.

A.D. 845. The Northmen defeated at the mouth of the Parret by the bishop Ealstan of Sherborne and Osric the ealdorman.

A.D. 851. The Northmen defeated in Devonshire; Athelstan also defeats them at sea, near Sandwich. "This year the heathen men, for the first time, remained over winter in Thanet.

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And the same year came 350 ships to the mouth of the Thames, and the crews landed and took Canterbury and London by storm, and put to flight Beorhtwulf, king of the Mercians, with his army, and then went south over the Thames into Surrey; and there King Ethelwulf and his son Ethelbald, with an army of the West Saxons, fought against them at Ockley, and there made the greatest slaughter among the heathen army that we

These princes and their successors are often styled in the Welsh Chronicles, from the names of their capitals, the kings of Aberfraw (in Anglesey), of Cardigan, and of Mathraval (near Meivod, in Montgomeryshire), in the same way as their cotemporaries, the English kings, are called the kings of London. The South Wales state was the largest; but the greater part of its territory was held by the lords of Dyved (Pembroke), Morganwg (Glamorgan) and Gwent (the district on the Severn and Wye), who were only nominal dependents on the king of Cardigan.

have heard tell of unto the present day, and there got

the victory."

Athelstan of Kent dies.

The Northmen driven from Dublin; they regain possession the following year.

A.D. 852. Beorhtwulf of Mercia dies; Burgred succeeds.

A.D. 853. Ethelwulf assists the Mercians against the North Welsh.

The Northmen in Thanet unsuccessfully attacked by Ealhere and Huda, the ealdormen of Kent and Surrey, who are both killed.

Burgred marries Athelswith, the daughter of Ethelwulf.

Anlaf, a Northman, establishes his supremacy in Ireland, and makes a truce with the natives.

A.D. 855. "This year the heathen men, for the first time, remained over winter in Sheppy."

"King Ethelwulf gave by charter the tenth part of his land throughout his realm for the glory of God and his own eternal salvations. And the same year he went to Rome in great state, and dwelt there twelve months, and then returned homewards."

A.D. 856. Ethelwulf marries Judith, daughter of Charles, king of the Franks (Charles the Bald), Oct. 1.

A.D. 857. Ethelwulf parts his kingdom with his son. A.D. 858. Ethelwulf dies, January or June, and is buried at Winchester.

This grant, which is only to be taken as a proof of the personal piety of Ethelwulf, in bestowing a tenth of his private estate on the Church, is often incorrectly spoken of as if it were the origin of tithes in England. See notice of Anglo-Saxon Laws, p. 154.




THE two elder sons of Ethelwulf shared his dominions between them. Ethelbald, who only survived two years, is chiefly remarkable for his incestuous marriage with Judith, his father's widow, by whom, however, he left no issue. Ethelbert contended vigorously with the Northmen until his death in 866, and left two sons: Ethelwald, who afterwards by leaguing with the invaders made himself for a short time king in Northumbriat; and Adhelm, of the events of whose life no record has been preserved.

A.D. 858. Ethelbald succeeds in Wessex, and Ethelbert in the rest of Ethelwulf's dominions.

A.D. 860. Ethelbald dies, and is buried at Sherborne; "and Ethelbert succeeded to all the realm of his brother, and he held it in godly concord and in great tranquillity."

The Northmen storm Winchester, but are shortly after defeated.

A.D. 864. The Northmen again winter in Thanet.
A.D. 865. Kent ravaged by the Northmen.

A.D. 866. Ethelbert dies, and is buried at Sherborne; Ethelred succeeds.


ETHELRED, the third son of Ethelwulf, succeeded, to the prejudice of his brother's children, but this was not

See p. 102.

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