The Northern Way

Part 3: A.D. 920 - 1014

Page 1

A.D. 920. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward to Maldon; and repaired and fortified the town, ere he departed thence. And the same year went Earl Thurkytel over sea to Frankland with the men who would adhere to him, under the protection and assistance of King Edward. This year Ethelfleda got into her power, with God's assistance, in the early part of the year, without loss, the town of Leicester; and the greater part of the army that belonged thereto submitted to her. And the Yorkists had also promised and confirmed, some by agreement and some with oaths, that they would be in her interest. But very soon after they had done this, she departed, twelve nights before midsummer, at Tamworth, the eighth year that she was holding the government of the Mercians with right dominion; and her body lieth at Glocester, in the east porch of St. Peter's church. This year also was the daughter of Ethered, lord of the Mercians, deprived of all authority over the Mercians, and led into Wessex, three weeks before midwinter. Her name was Healfwina.

A.D. 921. This year, before Easter, King Edward ordered his men to go to the town of Towcester, and to rebuild it. Then again, after that, in the same year, during the gang-days, he ordered the town of Wigmore to be repaired. The same summer, betwixt Lammas and midsummer, the army broke their parole from Northampton and from Leicester; and went thence northward to Towcester, and fought against the town all day, and thought that they should break into it; but the people that were therein defended it, till more aid came to them; and the enemy then abandoned the town, and went away. Then again, very soon after this, they went out at night for plunder, and came upon men unaware, and seized not a little, both in men and cattle, betwixt Burnham-wood and Aylesbury. At the same time went the army from Huntington and East-Anglia, and constructed that work at Ternsford; which they inhabited and fortified; and abandoned the other at Huntingdon; and thought that they should thence oft with war and contention recover a good deal of this land. Thence they advanced till they came to Bedford; where the men who were within came out against them, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and slew a good number of them. Then again, after this, a great army yet collected itself from East-Anglia and from Mercia, and went to the town of Wigmore; which they besieged without, and fought against long in the day; and took the cattle about it; but the men defended the town, who were within; and the enemy left the town, and went away. After this, the same summer, a large force collected itself in King Edward's dominions, from the nighest towns that could go thither, and went to Temsford; and they beset the town, and fought thereon; until they broke into it, and slew the king, and Earl Toglos, and Earl Mann his son, and his brother, and all them that were therein, and who were resolved to defend it; and they took the others, and all that was therein. After this, a great force collected soon in harvest, from Kent, from Surrey, from Essex, and everywhere from the nighest towns; and went to Colchester, and beset the town, and fought thereon till they took it, and slew all the people, and seized all that was therein; except those men who escaped therefrom over the wall. After this again, this same harvest, a great army collected itself from East-Anglia, both of the land- forces and of the pirates, which they had enticed to their assistance, and thought that they should wreak their vengeance. They went to Maldon, and beset the town, and fought thereon, until more aid came to the townsmen from without to help. The enemy then abandoned the town, and went from it. And the men went after, out of the town, and also those that came from without to their aid; and put the army to flight, and slew many hundreds of them, both of the pirates and of the others. Soon after this, the same harvest, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Passham; and sat there the while that men fortified the town of Towcester with a stone wall. And there returned to him Earl Thurferth, and the captains, and all the army that belonged to Northampton northward to the Welland, and sought him for their lord and protector. When this division of the army went home, then went another out, and marched to the town of Huntingdon; and repaired and renewed it, where it was broken down before, by command of King Edward. And all the people of the country that were left submitted to King Edward, and sought his peace and protection. After this, the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward with the West-Saxon army to Colchester; and repaired and renewed the town, where it was broken down before. And much people turned to him. both in East- Anglia and in Essex, that were before under the power of the Danes. And all the army in East-Anglia swore union with him; that they would all that he would, and would protect all that he protected, either by sea or land. And the army that belonged to Cambridge chose him separately for their lord and protector, and confirmed the same with oaths, as he had advised. This year King Edward repaired the town of Gladmouth; and the same year King Sihtric slew Neil his brother.

A.D. 922. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with his army to Stamford, and ordered the town to be fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought him for their lord. It was whilst he was tarrying there, that Ethelfleda his sister died at Tamworth, twelve nights before midsummer. Then rode he to the borough of Tamworth; and all the population in Mercia turned to him, who before were subject to Ethelfleda. And the kings in North-Wales, Howel, and Cledauc, and Jothwel, and all the people of North-Wales, sought him for their lord. Then went he thence to Nottingham, and secured that borough, and ordered it to be repaired, and manned both with English and with Danes. And all the population turned to him, that was settled in Mercia, both Danish and English.

A.D. 923. This year went King Edward with an army, late in the harvest, to Thelwall; and ordered the borough to be repaired, and inhabited, and manned. And he ordered another army also from the population of Mercia, the while he sat there to go to Manchester in Northumbria, to repair and to man it. This year died Archbishop Plegmund; and King Reynold won York.

A.D. 924. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over the Trent betwixt the two towns. Thence he went to Bakewell in Peakland; and ordered a fort to be built as near as possible to it, and manned. And the King of Scotland, with all his people, chose him as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the Strathclydwallians, and all his people.

((A.D. 924. This year Edward was chosen for father and for lord by the king of the Scots, and by the Scots, and King Reginald, and by all the North-humbrians, and also the king of the Strath-clyde Britons, and by all the Strath-clyde Britons.))

((A.D. 924. This year King Edward died among the Mercians at Farndon; and very shortly, about sixteen days after this, Elward his son died at Oxford; and their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king by the Mercians, and consecrated at Kingston. And he gave his sister to Ofsae (Otho), son of the king of the Old-Saxons.))

A.D. 925. This year died King Edward at Farndon in Mercia; and Elward his son died very soon after this, in Oxford. Their bodies lie at Winchester. And Athelstan was chosen king in Mercia, and consecrated at Kingston. He gave his sister to Otho, son of the king of the Old-Saxons. St. Dunstan was now born; and Wulfhelm took to the archbishopric in Canterbury. This year King Athelstan and Sihtric king of the Northumbrians came together at Tamworth, the sixth day before the calends of February, and Athelstan gave away his sister to him.

((A.D. 925. This year Bishop Wulfhelm was consecrated. And that same year King Edward died.))

A.D. 926. This year appeared fiery lights in the northern part of the firmament; and Sihtric departed; and King Athelstan took to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that were in this island: -- First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Emmet, on the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.

A.D. 927. This year King Athelstan expelled King Guthfrith; and Archbishop Wulfhelm went to Rome.

A.D. 928. William took to Normandy, and held it fifteen years.

((A.D. 931. This year died Frithstan, Bishop of Winchester, and Brinstan was blessed in his place.))

A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester on the fourth day before the calends of June; and he held the bishopric two years and a half.

A.D. 933. This year died Bishop Frithestan; and Edwin the atheling was drowned in the sea.

A.D. 934. This year went King Athelstan into Scotland, both with a land-force and a naval armament, and laid waste a great part of it; and Bishop Burnstan died at Winchester at the feast of All Saints.

A.D. 935. This year Bishop Elfheah took to the bishopric of Winchester.

((A.D. 937. This year King Athelstan and Edmund his brother led a force to Brumby, and there fought against Anlaf; and, Christ helping, had the victory: and they there slew five kings and seven earls.))

A.D. 938. Here

          Athelstan king,
          of earls the lord,
          rewarder of heroes,
          and his brother eke,
          Edmund atheling,
          elder of ancient race,
          slew in the fight,
          with the edge of their swords,
          the foe at Brumby!
          The sons of Edward
          their board-walls clove,
          and hewed their banners,
          with the wrecks of their hammers.
          So were they taught
          by kindred zeal,
          that they at camp oft
          'gainst any robber
          their land should defend,
          their hoards and homes.
          Pursuing fell
          the Scottish clans;
          the men of the fleet
          in numbers fell;
          'midst the din of the field
          the warrior swate.
          Since the sun was up
          in morning-tide,
          gigantic light!
          glad over grounds,
          God's candle bright,
          eternal Lord! --
          'till the noble creature
          sat in the western main:
          there lay many
          of the Northern heroes
          under a shower of arrows,
          shot over shields;
          and Scotland's boast,
          a Scythian race,
          the mighty seed of Mars!
          With chosen troops,
          throughout the day,
          the West-Saxons fierce
          press'd on the loathed bands;
          hew'd down the fugitives,
          and scatter'd the rear,
          with strong mill-sharpen'd blades,
          The Mercians too
          the hard hand-play
          spared not to any
          of those that with Anlaf
          over the briny deep
          in the ship's bosom
          sought this land
          for the hardy fight.
          Five kings lay
          on the field of battle,
          in bloom of youth,
          pierced with swords.
          So seven eke
          of the earls of Anlaf;
          and of the ship's-crew
          unnumber'd crowds.
          There was dispersed
          the little band
          of hardy Scots,
          the dread of northern hordes;
          urged to the noisy deep
          by unrelenting fate!
          The king of the fleet
          with his slender craft
          escaped with his life
          on the felon flood; --
          and so too Constantine,
          the valiant chief,
          returned to the north
          in hasty flight.
          The hoary Hildrinc
          cared not to boast
          among his kindred.
          Here was his remnant
          of relations and friends
          slain with the sword
          in the crowded fight.
          His son too he left
          on the field of battle,
          mangled with wounds,
          young at the fight.
          The fair-hair'd youth
          had no reason to boast
          of the slaughtering strife.
          Nor old Inwood
          and Anlaf the more
          with the wrecks of their army
          could laugh and say,
          that they on the field
          of stern command
          better workmen were,
          in the conflict of banners,
          the clash of spears,
          the meeting of heroes,
          and the rustling of weapons,
          which they on the field
          of slaughter played
          with the sons of Edward.
          The northmen sail'd
          in their nailed ships,
          a dreary remnant,
          on the roaring sea;
          over deep water
          Dublin they sought,
          and Ireland's shores,
          in great disgrace.
          Such then the brothers
          both together
          king and atheling,
          sought their country,
          West-Saxon land,
          in right triumphant.
          They left behind them
          raw to devour,
          the sallow kite,
          the swarthy raven
          with horny nib,
          and the hoarse vultur,
          with the eagle swift
          to consume his prey;
          the greedy gos-hawk,
          and that grey beast
          the wolf of the weald.
          No slaughter yet
          was greater made
          e'er in this island,
          of people slain,
          before this same,
          with the edge of the sword;
          as the books inform us
          of the old historians;
          since hither came
          from the eastern shores
          the Angles and Saxons,
          over the broad sea,
          and Britain sought, --
          fierce battle-smiths,
          o'ercame the Welsh,
          most valiant earls,
          and gained the land.

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