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For in the course of the same year the king of the East-Angles with the wise men of his realm, visits king Egbert, for the sake of peace and protection, on account of his fear of the Mercians. In the course of that year the aforesaid East-Angles made war against Bernulf king of the Mercians, and having defeated his army they slew him and five dukes with him.

His successor was Withlaf. Two years afterwards, the moon was eclipsed on the very night of Christ's nativity. And in the same year king Egbert reduced under his power all that part of the kingdom which lies to the south of the river Humber: he was the eighth king in Britain who was famous for his great power. He led his army against the Northumbrians, who also bent their necks and submitted to him. At the end of a year therefore, Withlaf again received the kingdom.

At that time also, king Egbert led his army against the northern Britons, and when he had subdued all of them, he returned in peace. After four years therefore the pagans devastated the territories of a place called Sceapige. After one year Egbert fought against the pagan fleet, in number thirty-five vessels, at a place called Carrum [Charmouth]: and the Danes obtained the victory.

Lastly after three years, a large army of Britons approached the frontiers of the West-Saxons: without de [Pg 22] lay they form themselves into a compact body, and carry their arms against Egbert king of the Angles. Egbert therefore having ascertained the state of things beforehand, assembled his army and twice imbued their weapons in the blood of the Britons at Hengeston, [53] and put them to flight. After his death, Athulf [54] succeeded to the throne of his father Egbert, and he delivered up the kingdom of Kent to his son Athelstan, together with East-Saxony, South-Saxony, and Surrey, i.

After one year, duke Wulfherd fought with the pagan fleet near the town of Hamptun [Southampton], and having slain many of them gained the victory: the number of ships in the fleet was thirty-three. After this exploit the duke himself died in peace. The same year duke Ethelhelm, with the people of the province of Dorset, fought another battle against the pagan army at Port, and pursued them some distance: but afterwards the Danes were victorious, and slew the duke and his companions with him.

After one year duke Herebert was slain by the Danes at Merswarum; [55] and the same year a great slaughter was made by that army in the city of Lindsey, and in the province of Kent, and in East Anglia. Also after one year, the same thing took place in the city of London, in Quintanwic [Canterbury], and in the town of Rochester.

EDITOR'S PREFACE.

Meanwhile, after one year king Ethelwulf fought against the Danes at a place called Charmouth, by whom also he was vanquished, and the victors kept possession of the ground. Three years afterwards duke Eanwulf, who governed the province of Somerset, and bishop Ealstan also, and Osric duke of Dorset, fought a battle against the pagans at the mouth of the Parret before-mentioned; where [Pg 23] they gained the victory, having defeated the Danish army.


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Also in the same year king Athelstan and duke Elchere fought against the army of the above-mentioned nation in the province of Kent, near the town of Sandwich, where they slew many of them, put their troops to flight, and took nine ships. After seven years Ceorl duke of Devon fought a battle against the pagans at Wembury, [56] where they slew many of the Danes and gained the victory. In the course of the same year, the barbarians wintered first in the isle of Thanet, which lies not far from Britain, and has fruitful but not large corn fields.

That year was not yet finished, when a large fleet of pagans arrived, ships, at the mouth of the river Thames, commonly called Thames-mouth, and destroyed the city of Canterbury and the city of London, and put to flight Berthwulf king of Mercia, having defeated his army. After the battle they returned beyond the river Thames towards the south through the province of Surrey, and there king Ethelwulf with the Western Angles met them: an immense number was slain on both sides, nor have we ever heard of a more severe battle before that day: these things happened near Ockley Wood.

After three years king Burhred asked assistance from king Ethelwulf to subdue the Northern Britons: he granted it, and having collected his army, passed through the Mercian kingdom to go against the Britons: whom he subdued and made tributary. In the same year king Ethelwulf sent his son Alfred to Rome, in the days of our lord pope Leo, [57] who consecrated him king and named him his son in baptism, when we are accustomed to name little children, when we receive them from the bishop's hand.

In the same year were fought battles in the isle of Thanet against the pagans; and there was a great slaughter made on both sides, and many were drowned in the sea. The same year also after Easter king Ethelwulf gave his daughter in marriage to king Burhred. After a year the pagans wintered in Sheppey. In the same year king Ethelwulf gave the tenth of all his possessions to be the Lord's portion, and so appointed it to [Pg 24] be in all the government of his kingdom.

In the same year he set out to Rome with great dignity, and stayed there twelve months. As he returned home, therefore, to his country, Charles, king of the Franks, gave him his daughter in marriage, and he took her home with him to his own country. Lastly, after a year king Ethelwulf died, and his body reposes in the city of Winchester. Now the aforesaid king was son of king Egbert, and his grandfather was Elmund, his great-grandfather Eafa, his great-grandfather's father was Eoppa, and his great-grandfather's grandfather was Ingild, brother of Ina, king of the Western-Angles, who ended his life at Rome; and the above-named kings derived their origin from king Kenred.

This Sceaf came with one ship to an island of the ocean named Scani, sheathed in arms, and he was a young boy, and unknown to the people of that land; but he was received by them, and they guarded him as their own with much care, and afterwards chose him for their king. It is from him that king Ethelwulf derives his descent. And then was completed the fiftieth year from the beginning of king Egbert's reign. Three books are now finished, and it remains to guide my pen to the fourth, in which also will be found greater gain, and the origin of our race is more clearly intimated.

And, although I may seem to send you a load of reading, dearest sister of my desire, do not judge me harshly, but as my writings were in love to you, so may you read them. And may God Almighty, who is praised both in Trinity [Pg 25] and in Unipotence ever preserve you under the shadow of his wings, and your companions with you. Meanwhile, after the death of king Ethelwulf, his sons were raised to the kingdom, namely Ethelbald over the Western Angles, and Ethelbert over the men of Kent, and the Eastern, Southern, and Midland Angles.

When five years were completed, king Ethelbald died, and his brother Ethelbert succeeded to the possessions of both. In those days a large fleet of pagans came to land, and destroyed the royal city which is called Winton. They were encountered by Osric duke of Hampshire, and Ethelwulf duke of Berkshire: a battle ensued; the pagans were routed, and the English gained the victory. After four years, from the death of king Ethelbald, the pagans strengthened their position in the isle of Thanet, and promise to be at peace with the men of Kent, who on their part prepare money, ignorant of the future.

But the Danes break their compact, and sallying out privately by night, lay waste all the eastern coast of Kent. After one year king Ethelbert died, and his body rests peaceably in the monastery named Sherborne. Ethelred succeeded to the throne after the death of his brother Ethelbert. In the same year the fleets of the tyrant Hingwar arrived in England from the north, and wintered among the East Angles, and having established their arms there, they get on their horses, and make peace with all the inhabitants in their own neighbourhood. After one year that army, leaving the eastern parts, crossed the river Humber into Northumberland to the city of Evoric, which is now commonly called the city of Eoferwic [York].

For there was then a great civil dissension between the inhabitants of that land, and they were so enraged that they also expelled their king Osbert from his [Pg 26] seat; and having confirmed their resolves, they chose an obscure person for their king; and after some delay they turned their thoughts to raise an army and repulse those who were advancing. They collected together no small bodies of troops, and reconnoitred the enemy: their rage was excited: they joined battle, a miserable slaughter took place on both sides, and the kings were slain.

Those of them who were left made peace with the hostile army. In the same year died Eanwulf, duke of Somerset; also bishop Ealstan, fifty years after his succession to the bishopric, in the diocese called Sherborne.


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  8. There also his body now reposes; and that of the above-named duke in the monastery called Glastonbury. After one year therefore, the army of the pagans, of whose arrival we have spoken above, measured out their camp in a place called Snotingaham [Nottingham], and there they passed the winter, and Burhred king of the Mercians, with his nobles, consented to their remaining there without reproach. At the end of a year therefore, the army was transported to York, and there also they measured out their camp in the winter season. Again after a year they departed, and passed through Mercia into East-Anglia, and there measured out their camp for the winter at Thetford.

    King Edmund carried on war against them for a short time, but he was slain there by them, and his body lies entombed at a place called Beodoricsworthe, [58] and the barbarians obtained the victory, but with the loss of their king soon afterwards: for king Hingwar died the same year; archbishop Ceolnoth also died that same year, and is buried in the city of Canterbury. After one year therefore the army of the barbarians above-mentioned set out for Reading, and the principal object of the impious crew was to attack the West-Saxons; and three days after they came, their two consuls, forgetting that they were not on board their fleet, rode proudly through fields and meadows on horseback, which nature had denied to them.

    But duke Ethelwulf met them, and though his troops were few, their hearts resided in brave dwellings: they point their darts, they rout the enemy, and triumph in abundant spoils. At length four days after their meeting, Ethelred arrives with his army; an indescribable battle is fought, now these, now those urge on the fight with spears immoveable; duke Ethelwulf falls, who a short time before had obtained the victory: the barbarians at last triumph. The body of the above-named duke is privately withdrawn, and carried into the province of the Mercians, to a place called Northworthig, but Derby in the language of the Danes.

    Divrei Hayamim II - II Chronicles - Chapter 36

    But it is proper that I should declare the names of those chiefs who fell there: Bagsac king, the veteran Sidrac their consul, the younger Sidrac also, the consul Osbern, the consul Frene, the consul Harold; and, so to speak, all the flower of the barbarian youth was there slain, so that neither before nor since was ever such destruction known since the Saxons first gained Britain by their arms. Fourteen days after, they again took courage and a second battle was fought at a place called Basing: the barbarians came and took part over against them; the fight began, and hope passed from the one side to the other; the royal army was deceived, the enemy had the victory, but gained no spoils.

    Furthermore after two months the aforesaid king Ethelred renewed the battle, and with him was his brother Alfred, at Merton, against all the army of the barbarians, and a large number was slain on both sides. Lastly, after the above-mentioned battle, and after the Easter of the same year, died king Ethelred, from whose family I derive my origin.