Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Severn, and also some part of the North-Welsh people. When they had all drawn together, then they came up with the army at Buttington on the banks of the Severn, and there beset them about, on either side, in a fastness. When they had now sat there many weeks on both sides of the river, and the king was in the west in Devon, against the fleet, then were the enemy distressed for want of food ; and having eaten a great part of their horses, the others being starved with hunger, then went they out against the men who were encamped on the east bank of the river, and fought against them : and the Christians had the victory. And Ordhelm a king's thane was there slain, and also many other king's thanes were slain ; and of the Danish-men there was very great slaughter made ; and that part which got away thence was saved by flight. When they had come into Essex to their fortress and to their ships, then the survivors again gathered a great army from among the East-Angles and the North-humbrians before winter, and committed their wives and their ships and their wealth to the East-Angles, and went at one stretch, day and night, until they arrived at à western city in Wirall, which is called Lega-ceaster [Chester]. Then were the forces unable to come up with them before they were within the fortress : nevertheless they beset the fortress about for some two days, and took all the cattle that was there without, and slew the men whom they were able to overtake without the fortress, and burned all the corn, and with their horses ate it every evening. And this was about a twelve-month after they first came hither over sea.

A. 895. And then soon after that, in this year, the army from Wirall went among the North-Welsh, for they were unable to stay there : this was because they had been deprived both of the cattle and of the corn which they had plundered. When they had turned again out of NorthWales, with the booty which they had there taken, then went they over Northumberland and East-Anglia, in such wise that the forces could not overtake them before they came to the eastern parts of the land of Essex, to an island that is out on the sea, which is called Mersey. And as the army which had beset Exeter again turned homewards, then spoiled they the South-Saxons near Chichester ; and the townsmen put them to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, and took some of their ships. Then that same year, before winter, the Danish-men who had sat down in Mersey, towed their ships up the Thames, and thence up the Lea. This was about two years after they had come hither over sea.

A. 896. In that same year the fore-mentioned army constructed a fortress on the Lea, twenty miles above London. After this, in summer, a great body of the townsmen, and also of other people, went onwards until they arrived at the Danish fortress ; and there they were put to flight, and some four king's thanes were slain. Then after this, during harvest, the king encamped near to the town, while the people reaped the corn, so that the Danish-men might not deprive them of the crop. Then on a certain day the king rode up along the river, and observed where the river might be obstructed, so that they would be unable to bring out their ships. And they then did thus : they constructed two fortresses on the two sides of the river. When they had already begun the work, and had encamped before it, then perceived the army that they should not be able to bring out their ships. They then abandoned them, and went across the country till they arrived at Bridgenorth by the Severn ; and there they constructed a fortress. Then the forces rode westwards after the army : and the men of London took possession of the ships ; but all which they could not bring away, they broke up, and those which were worthy of capture they brought to London : moreover the Danish-men had committed their wives to the keeping of the East-Angles before they went out from their fortress. Then sat they down for the winter at Bridgenorth. This was about three years after they had come hither over sea to Limne-mouth.

A. 897. After this, in the summer of this year, the army broke up, some for East-Anglia, some for North-humbria ; and they who were moneyless procured 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 it was much more broken down by the mortality 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, ealdorman of Kent, and Bertulf, ealdorman of Essex, and Wulfred, ealdorman of Hampshire, and Ealhard, bishop of Dorchester, and Eadulf, the king's thane in Sussex, and Bernwulf, the governor of Winchester, and Eadulf, the king's horse-thane, and many also besides these, though I have named the most distinguished. That same year the armies from among the East-Anglians and from among the North-humbrians harassed the land of the WestSaxons, chiefly on the south coast, by prædatory bands ; most of all by their esks, which they had built many years before. Then king Alfred commanded long ships to be built to oppose the esks; 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 they would be most efficient. Then some time in the same year, there came six ships to the Isle of Wight, and there did much harm, as well as in Devon, and elsewhere on the sea-coast. 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 ; for the men were gone 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 Ebb, the Frisian, and Ethelere, the Frisian, and Ethelferth, the king's neat-herd, 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 “ Wealhreeve.”

A. 898. In this year died Ethelm, ealdorman of Wiltshire, nine days before midsummer ; and this year died Elstan, who was bishop of London.

A. 899. 900.

A. 901. This year died ALFRED, the son of Ethelwulf, six days before the mass of All Saints. He was king over the whole English nation, except that part which was under the dominion of the Danes, and he held the kingdom one year and a half less than thirty years. And then Edward his son succeeded to the kingdom. Then Ethelwald, the etheling, his uncle's son, seized the castle at Wimborne* and that at Twineham, † without leave of the king and of his "witan.” Then rode the king with his forces until he encamped at Badbury, near Wimborne ; and Ethelwald sat within the vill, with the men who had submitted to him ; and he had obstructed all the approaches towards him, and said that he would do one of two things—or there live, or there lie. But notwithstanding that, he stole away by night, and sought the army in North-humbria ; and they received him for their king, and became obedient to him. And the king commanded that he should be ridden after ; but they were unable to overtake him. They then beset the woman whom he had before taken, without the king's leave, and against the bishop's command ; for she had previously been consecrated a nun. And in this same year Ethelred, who was ealdorman of Devonshire, died, four weeks before king Alfred.

* Dorsetshire.
☆ Christchurch, New Forest division of Southampton.

A. 902. And that same year was the battle at the Holme, between the Kentish-men and the Danish-men. A. 902. This year Elswitha died.

A. 903. This year died Athulf, the ealdorman, brother of Elswitha, king Edward's mother; and Virgilius, abbat of the Scots ; and Grimbald, the mass-priest, on the 8th before the Ides of July. And this same year was the consecration of the New-minster at Winchester, and St. Judoc's advent.

A. 904. This year Ethelwald came hither over sea with the ships that he was able to get, and he was submitted to in Essex. This year the moon was eclipsed.

A. 905. This year Ethelwald enticed the army in EastAnglia to break the peace, so that they ravaged over all the land of Mercia until they came to Cricklade, and there they went over the Thames, and took, as well in Bradon as thereabout, all that they could lay hands on, and then turned homewards again. Then king Edward went after them, as speedily as he could gather his forces, and overran all their land between the dikes and the Ouse, all as far north as the fens. When, after this, he would return thence, then commanded he it to be proclaimed through his whole force, that they should all return together. Then the Kentish-men remained there behind, notwithstanding his orders, and seven messengers whom he had sent to them. Then the irmy there came up to them, and there fought them : and here Siwulf the ealdorman, and Sigelm the ealdorman, and Eadwold the king's thane, and Kenwulf the abbat, and Sigebright son of Siwulf, and Eadwold son of Acca, were lain, and likewise many with them, though I have named the most distinguished. And on the Danish side were slain Eohric their king, and Ethelwald the etheling, who had enticed him to break the peace, and Byrtsige son of Brithboth the etheling, and Ysopk the 'hold' [governor?], and Ossytel the hold, and very many with them, whom we are now inable to name. And there was great slaughter made on either hand ; and of the Danish-men there were more slain, hough they had possession of the place of carnage. And Elhswitha died that same year. This year a comet appeared on the thirteenth before the Kalends of November.

A. 906. In this year died Alfred, who was governor of

« ForrigeFortsett »