The Northern Way

Part 4: A.D. 1015 - 1051

Page 2

((A.D. 1023. And he caused St. Elphege's remains to be borne from London to Canterbury.))

A.D. 1025. This year went King Knute to Denmark with a fleet to the holm by the holy river; where against him came Ulf and Eglaf, with a very large force both by land and sea, from Sweden. There were very many men lost on the side of King Knute, both of Danish and English; and the Swedes had possession of the field of battle.

A.D. 1026. This year went Bishop Elfric to Rome, and received the pall of Pope John on the second day before the ides of November.

A.D. 1028. This year went King Knute from England to Norway with fifty ships manned with English thanes, and drove King Olave from the land, which he entirely secured to himself.

A.D. 1029. This year King Knute returned home to England.

A.D. 1030. This year returned King Olave into Norway; but the people gathered together against him, and fought against him; and he was there slain, in Norway, by his own people, and was afterwards canonised. Before this, in the same year, died Hacon the doughty earl, at sea.

((A.D. 1030. This year came King Olave again into Norway, and the people gathered against him, and fought against him; and he was there slain.))

A.D. 1031. This year returned King Knute; and as soon as he came to England he gave to Christ's church in Canterbury the haven of Sandwich, and all the rights that arise therefrom, on either side of the haven; so that when the tide is highest and fullest, and there be a ship floating as near the land as possible, and there be a man standing upon the ship with a taper-axe in his hand, whithersoever the large taper-axe might be thrown out of the ship, throughout all that land the ministers of Christ's church should enjoy their rights. This year went King Knute to Rome; and the same year, as soon as he returned home, he went to Scotland; and Malcolm, king of the Scots, submitted to him, and became his man, with two other kings, Macbeth and Jehmar; but he held his allegiance a little while only. Robert, Earl of Normandy, went this year to Jerusalem, where he died; and William, who was afterwards King of England, succeeded to the earldom, though he was a child.

A.D. 1032. This year appeared that wild fire, such as no man ever remembered before, which did great damage in many places. The same year died Elfsy, Bishop of Winchester; and Elfwin, the king's priest, succeeded him.

A.D. 1033. This year died Bishop Merewhite in Somersetshire, who is buried at Glastonbury; and Bishop Leofsy, whose body resteth at Worcester, and to whose see Brihteh was promoted.

A.D. 1034. This year died Bishop Etheric, who lies at Ramsey.

A.D. 1035. This year died King Knute at Shaftesbury, on the second day before the ides of November; and he is buried at Winchester in the old minster. He was king over all England very near twenty winters. Soon after his decease, there was a council of all the nobles at Oxford; wherein Earl Leofric, and almost all the thanes north of the Thames, and the naval men in London, chose Harold to be governor of all England, for himself and his brother Hardacnute, who was in Denmark. Earl Godwin, and all the eldest men in Wessex, withstood it as long as they could; but they could do nothing against it. It was then resolved that Elfgiva, the mother of Hardacnute, should remain at Winchester with the household of the king her son. They held all Wessex in hand, and Earl Godwin was their chief man. Some men said of Harold, that he was the son of King Knute and of Elfgive the daughter of Alderman Elfelm; but it was thought very incredible by many men. He was, nevertheless, full king over all England. Harold himself said that he was the son of Knute and of Elfgive the Hampshire lady; though it was not true; but he sent and ordered to be taken from her all the best treasure that she could not hold, which King Knute possessed; and she nevertheless abode there continually within the city as long as she could.

A.D. 1036. This year came hither Alfred the innocent etheling, son of King Ethelred, and wished to visit his mother, who abode at Winchester: but Earl Godwin, and other men who had much power in this land, did not suffer it; because such conduct was very agreeable to Harold, though it was unjust.

          Him did Godwin let,
          and in prison set.
          His friends, who did not fly,
          they slew promiscuously.
          And those they did not sell,
          like slaughter'd cattle fell!
          Whilst some they spared to bind,
          only to wander blind!
          Some ham-strung, helpless stood,
          whilst others they pursued.
          A deed more dreary none
          in this our land was done,
          since Englishmen gave place
          to hordes of Danish race.
          But repose we must
          in God our trust,
          that blithe as day
          with Christ live they,
          who guiltless died --
          their country's pride!
          The prince with courage met
          each cruel evil yet;
          till 'twas decreed,
          they should him lead,
          all bound, as he was then,
          to Ely-bury fen.
          But soon their royal prize
          bereft they of his eyes!
          Then to the monks they brought
          their captive; where he sought
          a refuge from his foes
          till life's sad evening close.
          His body ordered then
          these good and holy men,
          according to his worth,
          low in the sacred earth,
          to the steeple full-nigh,
          in the south aile to lie
          of the transept west --
          his soul with Christ doth rest.

((A.D. 1036. This year died King Canute at Shaftesbury, and he is buried at Winchester in the Old-minster: and he was king over all England very nigh twenty years. And soon after his decease there was a meeting of all the witan at Oxford; and Leofric, the earl, and almost all the thanes north of the Thames, and the "lithsmen" at London, chose Harold for chief of all England, him and his brother Hardecanute who was in Denmark. And Godwin the earl and all the chief men of Wessex withstood it as long as they could; but they were unable to effect anything in opposition to it. And then it was decreed that Elfgive, Hardecanute's mother, should dwell at Winchester with the king's, her son's, house- hold, and hold all Wessex in his power; and Godwin the earl was their man. Some men said of Harold that he was son of King Canute and of Elfgive, daughter of Elfelm the ealdorman, but it seemed quite incredible to many men; and he was nevertheless full king over all England.))

A.D. 1037. This year men chose Harold king over all; and forsook Hardacnute, because he was too long in Denmark; and then drove out his mother Elgiva, the relict of King Knute, without any pity, against the raging winter! She, who was the mother of Edward as well as of King Hardacnute, sought then the peace of Baldwin by the south sea. Then came she to Bruges, beyond sea; and Earl Baldwin well received her there; and he gave her a habitation at Bruges, and protected her, and entertained her there as long as she had need. Ere this in the same year died Eafy, the excellent Dean of Evesham.

((A.D. 1037. This year was driven out Elfgive, King Canute's relict; she was King Hardecanute's mother; and she then sought the protection of Baldwin south of the sea, and he gave her a dwelling in Bruges, and protected and kept her, the while that she there was.))

A.D. 1038. This year died Ethelnoth, the good archbishop, on the calends of November; and, within a little of this time, Bishop Ethelric in Sussex, who prayed to God that he would not let him live any time after his dear father Ethelnoth; and within seven nights of this he also departed. Then, before Christmas, died Bishop Brihteh in Worcestershire; and soon after this, Bishop Elfric in East Anglia. Then succeeded Bishop Edsy to the archbishopric, Grimkytel to the see of Sussex, and Bishop Lifing to that of Worcester shire and Gloucestershire.

((A.D. 1038. This year died Ethelnoth, the good archbishop, on the kalends of November, and a little after, Ethelric, bishop in Sussex, and then before Christmas, Briteagus, Bishop in Worcestershire, and soon after, Elfric, bishop in East-Anglia.))

A.D. 1039. This year happened the terrible wind; and Bishop Britmar died at Lichfield. The Welsh slew Edwin. brother of Earl Leofric, and Thurkil, and Elfget, and many good men with them. This year also came Hardacnute to Bruges, where his mother was.

((A.D. 1039. This year King Harold died at Oxford, on the sixteenth before the kalends of April, and he was buried at Westminster. And he ruled England four years and sixteen weeks; and in his days sixteen ships were retained in pay, at the rate of eight marks for each rower, in like manner as had been before done in the days of King Canute. And in this same year came King Hardecanute to Sandwich, seven days before midsummer. And he was soon acknowledged as well by English as by Danes; though his advisers afterwards grievously requited it, when they decreed that seventy-two ships should be retained in pay, at the rate of eight marks for each rower. And in this same year the sester of wheat went up to fifty-five pence, and even further.))

A.D. 1040. This year died King Harold at Oxford, on the sixteenth before the calends of April; and he was buried at Westminster. He governed England four years and sixteen weeks; and in his days tribute was paid to sixteen ships, at the rate of eight marks for each steersman, as was done before in King Knute's days. The same year they sent after Hardacnute to Bruges, supposing they did well; and he came hither to Sandwich with sixty ships, seven nights before midsummer. He was soon received both by the Angles and Danes, though his advisers afterwards severely paid for it. They ordered a tribute for sixty-two ships, at the rate of eight marks for each steersman. Then were alienated from him all that before desired him; for he framed nothing royal during his whole reign. He ordered the dead Harold to be dragged up and thrown into a ditch. This year rose the sester of wheat to fifty-five pence, and even further. This year Archbishop Edsy went to Rome.

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