The Northern Way

Part 2: A.D. 750 - 919

Page 2

A.D. 788. This year there was a synod assembled at Fingall in Northumberland, on the fourth day before the nones of September; and Abbot Albert departed this life.

A.D. 789. This year Elwald, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by Siga, on the eleventh day before the calends of October; and a heavenly light was often seen on the spot where he was slain. He was buried in the church of Hexham; and Osred, the son of Alred, who was his nephew, succeeded him in the government. This ),ear there was a synod assembled at Acley.

A.D. 790. This year Archbishop Eanbert died, and Abbot Ethelherd was chosen archbishop the same year. Osred, king of the Northumbrians, was betrayed and banished from his kingdom, and Ethelred, the son of Ethelwald, succeeded him.

A.D. 791. This year Baldulf was consecrated Bishop of Whitern, on the sixteenth day before the calends of August, by Archbishop Eanbald and Bishop Ethelbert.

A.D. 792. This year Offa, King of Mercia, commanded that King Ethelbert should be beheaded; and Osred, who had been king of the Northumbrians, returning home after his exile, was apprehended and slain, on the eighteenth day before the calends of October. His body is deposited at Tinemouth. Ethelred this year, on the third day before the calends of October, took unto himself a new wife, whose name was Elfleda.

A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter. Siga died on the eighth day before the calends of March.

A.D. 794. This year died Pope Adrian; and also Offa, King of Mercia, on the fourth day before the ides of August, after he had reigned forty winters. Ethelred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by his own people, on the thirteenth day before the calends of May; in consequence of which, Bishops Ceolwulf and Eadbald retired from the land. Everth took to the government of Mercia, and died the same year. Eadbert, whose other name was Pryn, obtained the kingdom of Kent; and Alderman Ethelherd died on the calends of August. In the meantime, the heathen armies spread devastation among the Northumbrians, and plundered the monastery of King Everth at the mouth of the Wear. There, however, some of their leaders were slain; and some of their ships also were shattered to pieces by the violence of the weather; many of the crew were drowned; and some, who escaped alive to the shore, were soon dispatched at the mouth of the river.

A.D. 795. This year was the moon eclipsed, between cock-crowing and dawn, (31) on the fifth day before the calends of April; and Erdulf succeeded to the Northumbrian kingdom on the second before the ides of May. He was afterwards consecrated and raised to his throne, at York, on the seventh day before the calends of June, by Archbishop Eanbald, and Bishops Ethelbert, Hibbald, and Baldulf.

A.D. 796. This year died Archbishop Eanbald, on the fourth day before the ides of August; and his body is deposited at York. The same year also died Bishop Ceolwulf; and another Eanbald was consecrated to the see of the former, on the nineteenth day before the calends of September. About the same time Cynewulf, King of Mercia, made inroads upon the inhabitants of Kent as far as the marsh; and the Mercians seized Edbert Pryn, their king, led him bound into Mercia, and suffered men to pick out his eyes, and cut off his hands. (32) And Ethelard, Archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod, wherein he ratified and confirmed, by command of Pope Leo, all things concerning God's monasteries that were fixed in Witgar's days, and in other king's days, saying thus: "I Ethelard, the humble Archbishop of Canterbury, with the unanimous concurrence of the whole synod, and of all the congregations of all the minsters, to which in former days freedom was given by faithful men, in God's name and by his terrible judgment do decree, as I have command from Pope Leo, that henceforth none dare to choose them lords from lewd men over God's inheritance; but, as it is in the writ that the pope has given, or holy men have settled, our fathers and our teachers, concerning holy minsters, so they continue untainted without any resistance. If there is any man that will not observe this decree of God, of our pope, and of us, but overlooketh it, and holdeth it for nought, let them know, that they shall give an account before the judgment-seat of God. And I Ethelard, archbishop, with twelve bishops, and with three and twenty abbots, this same with the rood-token of Christ confirm and fasten."

((A.D. 796. This year Offa, king of the Mercians, died on the fourth before the kalends of August; he reigned forty years.))

A.D. 797. This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as he was before. Eanbald also received the pall on the sixth day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the third before the calends of November.

A.D. 798. This year a severe battle was fought in the Northumbrian territory, during Lent, on the fourth day before the nones of April, at Whalley; wherein Alric, the son of Herbert, was slain, and many others with him.

A.D. 799. This year Archbishop Ethelbert, and Cynbert, Bishop of Wessex, went to Rome. In the meantime Bishop Alfun died at Sudbury, and was buried at Dunwich. After him Tidfrith was elected to the see; and Siric, king of the East Saxons, went to Rome. In this year the body of Witburga was found entire, and free from decay, at Dercham, after a lapse of five and fifty years from the period of her decease.

A.D. 800. This year was the moon eclipsed, at eight in the evening, on the seventeenth day before the calends of February; and soon after died King Bertric and Alderman Worr. Egbert succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom; and the same day Ethelmund, alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford; where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of Wiltshire, and a terrible conflict ensued, in which both the commanders were slain, but the men of Wiltshire obtained the victory.

((A.D. 801. This year Beornmod was ordained Bishop of Rochester.))

A.D. 802. This year was the moon eclipsed, at dawn, on the thirteenth day before the calends of January; and Bernmod was consecrated Bishop of Rochester.

A.D. 803. This year died Hibbald, Bishop of Holy-island, on the twenty-fourth of June, and Egbert was consecrated in his stead, on the thirteenth of June following. Archbishop Ethelherd also died in Kent, and Wulfred was chosen archbishop in his stead. Abbot Forthred, in the course of the same year, departed this life.

A.D. 804. This year Archbishop Wulfred received his pall.

A.D. 805. This year died King Cuthred in Kent, and Abbess Colburga, and Alderman Herbert.

A.D. 806. This year was the moon eclipsed, on the first o[ September; Erdwulf, king of the Northumbrians, was banished from his dominions; and Eanbert, Bishop of Hexham, departed this life. This year also, on the next day before the nones of June, a cross was seen in the moon, on a Wednesday, at the dawn; and afterwards, during the same year, on the third day before the calends of September, a wonderful circle was displayed about the sun.

A.D. 807. This year was the sun eclipsed, precisely at eleven in the morning, on the seventeenth day before the calends of August.

A.D. 812. This year died the Emperor Charlemagne, after a reign of five and forty winters; and Archbishop Wulfred, accompanied by Wigbert, Bishop of Wessex, undertook a journey to Rome.

A.D. 813. This year Archbishop Wulfred returned to his own see, with the blessing of Pope Leo; and King Egbert spread devastation in Cornwall from east to west.

A.D. 814. This year died Leo, the noble and holy pope; and Stephen succeeded him in the papal government.

A.D. 816. This year died Pope Stephen; and Paschalis was consecrated pope after him. This same year the school of the English nation at Rome was destroyed by fire.

A.D. 819. This year died Cenwulf, King of Mercia; and Ceolwulf (33) succeeded him. Alderman Eadbert also departed this life.

A.D. 821. This year Ceolwulf was deprived of his kingdom.

A.D. 822. This year two aldermen were slain, whose names were Burhelm and Mucca; and a synod was holden at Cliff's-Hoo.

A.D. 823. This year a battle was fought between the Welsh in Cornwall and the people of Devonshire, at Camelford; and in the course of the same year Egbert, king of the West-Saxons, and Bernwulf, King of Mercia, fought a battle at Wilton, in which Egbert gained the victory, but there was great slaughter on both sides. Then sent he his son Ethelwulf into Kent, with a large detachment from the main body of the army, accompanied by his bishop, Elstan, and his alderman, Wulfherd; who drove Baldred, the king, northward over the Thames. Whereupon the men of Kent immediately submitted to him; as did also the inhabitants of Surrey, and Sussex, and Essex; who had been unlawfully kept from their allegiance by his relatives. The same year also, the king of the East-Angles, and his subjects besought King Egbert to give them peace and protection against the terror of the Mercians; whose king, Bernwulf, they slew in the course of the same year.

A.D. 825. This year Ludecan, King of Mercia, was slain, and his five aldermen with him; after which Wiglaf succeeded to the kingdom.

A.D. 827. This year was the moon eclipsed, on mid-winter's mass- night; and King Egbert, in the course of the same year, conquered the Mercian kingdom, and all that is south of the Humber, being the eighth king who was sovereign of all the British dominions. Ella, king of the South-Saxons, was the first who possessed so large a territory; the second was Ceawlin, king of the West- Saxons: the third was Ethelbert, King of Kent; the fourth was Redwald, king of the East-Angles; the fifth was Edwin, king of the Northumbrians; the sixth was Oswald, who succeeded him; the seventh was Oswy, the brother of Oswald; the eighth was Egbert, king of the West-Saxons. This same Egbert led an army against the Northumbrians as far as Dore, where they met him, and offered terms of obedience and subjection, on the acceptance of which they returned home.

ENDNOTES:

(31) This is the Grecian method of computation; between the hours of three and six in the morning. It must be recollected, that before the distribution of time into hours, minutes, and seconds, the day and night were divided into eight equal portions, containing three hours each; and this method was continued long afterwards by historians. Back

(32) This wanton act of barbarity seems to have existed only in the depraved imagination of the Norman interpolator of the "Saxon Annals", who eagerly and impatiently dispatches the story thus, in order to introduce the subsequent account of the synod at Bapchild, so important in his eyes. Hoveden and Wallingford and others have repeated the idle tale; but I have not hitherto found it in any historian of authority. Back

(33) St. Kenelm is said to have succeeded Cenwulf: "In the foure and twentithe yere of his kyngdom Kenulf wente out of this worlde, and to the joye of hevene com; It was after that oure Lord in his moder alygte Eigte hondred yet and neygentene, by a countes rigte, Seint Kenelm his yonge sone in his sevende yere Kyng was ymad after him, theg he yong were." -- "Vita S. Kenelmi, MS. Coll. Trin Oxon." No. 57.Arch. Back

Index  |  Previous page  |  Next page