The Northern Way

Part 4: A.D. 1015 - 1051

Page 4

A.D. 1048. This year came Sweyne back to Denmark; and Harold, the uncle of Magnus, went to Norway on the death of Magnus, and the Northmen submitted to him. He sent an embassy of peace to this land, as did also Sweyne from Denmark, requesting of King Edward naval assistance to the amount at least of fifty ships; but all the people resisted it. This year also there was an earthquake, on the calends of May, in many places; at Worcester, at Wick, and at Derby, and elsewhere wide throughout England; with very great loss by disease of men and of cattle over all England; and the wild fire in Derbyshire and elsewhere did much harm. In the same year the enemy plundered Sandwich, and the Isle of Wight, and slew the best men that were there; and King Edward and the earls went out after them with their ships. The same year Bishop Siward resigned his bishopric from infirmity, and retired to Abingdon; upon which Archbishop Edsy resumed the bishopric; and he died within eight weeks of this, on the tenth day before the calends of November.

((A.D. 1048. This year was the severe winter: and this year died Alwyn, Bishop of Winchester, and Bishop Stigand was raised to his see. And before that, in the same year, died Grinketel, Bishop in Sussex, and Heca the priest succeeded to the bishopric. And Sweyn also sent hither, begging assistance against Magnus, King of Norway; that fifty ships should be sent to his aid. But it seemed unadvisable to all people: and it was then hindered by reason that Magnus had a great ship-force. And he then drove out Sweyn, and with much man-slaying won the land: and the Danes paid him much money and acknowledged him as king. And that same year Magnus died. In this year King Edward appointed Robert, of London, Archbishop of Canterbury, during Lent. And in the same Lent he went to Rome after his pall: and the king gave the bishopric of London to Sparhafoc, Abbot of Abingdon; and the king gave the abbacy of Abingdon to Bishop Rodulf, his kinsman. Then came the archbishop from Rome one day before St. Peter's mass- eve, and entered on his archiepiscopal see at Christ's Church on St. Peter's mass-day; and soon after went to the king. Then came Abbot Sparhafoc to him with the king's writ and seal, in order that he should consecrate him Bishop of London. Then the archbishop refused, and said that the pope had forbidden it him. Then went the abbot to the archbishop again for that purpose, and there desired episcopal ordination; and the archbishop constantly refused him, and said that the pope had forbidden it him. Then went the abbot to London, and occupied the bishopric which the king before had granted him, with his full leave, all the summer and the harvest. And then came Eustace [Earl of Boulogne] from beyond sea soon after the bishop, and went to the king, and spoke with him that which he then would, and went then homeward. When he came to Canterbury, east, then took he refreshment there, and his men, and went to Dover. When he was some mile or more, on this side of Dover, then he put on his breast-plate, and so did all his companions, and went to Dover. When they came thither, then would they lodge themselves where they chose. Then came one of his men, and would abide in the house of a householder against his will, and wounded the householder; and the householder slew the other. Then Eustace got upon his horse, and his companions upon theirs; and they went to the householder, and slew him within his own dwelling; and they went up towards the town, and slew, as well within as without, more than twenty men. And the townsmen slew nineteen men on the other side, and wounded they knew not how many. And Eustace escaped with a few men, and went again to the king, and made known to him, in part, how they had fared. And the king became very wroth with the townsmen. And the king sent off Godwin the earl, and bade him go into Kent in a hostile manner to Dover: for Eustace had made it appear to the king, that it had been more the fault of the townsmen than his: but it was not so. And the earl would not consent to the inroad, because he was loth to injure his own people. Then the king sent after all his council, and bade them come to Gloucester, nigh the aftermass of St. Mary. Then had the Welshmen erected a castle in Herefordshire among the people of Sweyn the earl, and wrought every kind of harm and disgrace to the king's men there about which they could. Then came Godwin the earl, and Sweyn the earl, and Harold the earl, together at Beverstone, and many men with them, in order that they might go to their royal lord, and to all the peers who were assembled with him, in order that they might have the advice of the king and his aid, and of all this council, how they might avenge the king's disgrace, and the whole nation's. Then were the Welshmen with the king beforehand, and accused the earls, so that they might not come within his eyes' sight; because they said that they were coming thither in order to betray the king. Thither had come Siward the earl [Of Northumbria] and Leofric the earl [Of Mercia], and much people with them, from the north, to the king; and it was made known to the Earl Godwin and his sons, that the king and the men who were with him, were taking counsel concerning them: and they arrayed themselves on the other hand resolutely, though it were loathful to them that they should stand against their royal lord. Then the peers on either side decreed that every kind of evil should cease: and the king gave the peace of God and his full friendship to either side. Then the king and his peers decreed that a council of all the nobles should be held for the second time in London at the harvest equinox; and the king directed the army to be called out, as well south of the Thames as north, all that was in any way most eminent. Then declared they Sweyn the earl an outlaw, and summoned Godwin the earl and Harold the earl, to the council, as quickly as they could effect it. When they had come thither, then were they summoned into the council. Then required he safe conduct and hostages, so that he might come, unbetrayed, into the council and out of the council. Then the king demanded all the thanes whom the earls before had: and they granted them all into his hands. Then the king sent again to them, and commanded them that they should come with twelve men to the king's council. Then the earl again required safe conduct and hostages, that he might defend himself against each of those things which were laid to him. Then were the hostages refused him; and he was allowed a safe conduct for five nights to go out of the land. And then Godwin the earl and Sweyn the earl went to Bosham, and shoved out their ships, and betook themselves beyond sea, and sought Baldwin's protection, and abode there all the winter. And Harold the earl went west to Ireland, and was there all the winter within the king's protection. And soon after this happened, then put away the king the lady who had been consecrated his queen [Editha], and caused to be taken from her all which she possessed, in land, and in gold, and in silver, and in all things, and delivered her to his sister at Wherwell. And Abbot Sparhafoc was then driven out of the bishopric of London, and William the king's priest was ordained thereto. And then Odda was appointed earl over Devonshire, and over Somerset, and over Dorset, and over the Welsh. And Algar, the son of Leofric the earl, was appointed to the earldom which Harold before held.))

A.D. 1049. (62) This year the emperor gathered an innumerable army against Baldwin of Bruges, because he had destroyed the palace of Nimeguen, and because of many other ungracious acts that he did against him. The army was immense that he had collected together. There was Leo, the Pope of Rome, and the patriarch, and many other great men of several provinces. He sent also to King Edward, and requested of him naval aid, that he might not permit him to escape from him by water. Whereupon he went to Sandwich, and lay there with a large naval armament, until the emperor had all that he wished of Baldwin. Thither also came back again Earl Sweyne, who had gone from this land to Denmark, and there ruined his cause with the Danes. He came hither with a pretence, saying that he would again submit to the king, and be his man; and he requested Earl Beorn to be of assistance to him, and give him land to feed him on. But Harold, his brother, and Earl Beorn resisted, and would give him nothing of that which the king had given them. The king also refused him everything. Whereupon Swevne retired to his ships at Bosham. Then, after the settlement between the emperor and Baldwin, many ships went home, and the king remained behind Sandwich with a few ships. Earl Godwin also sailed forty-two ships from Sandwich to Pevensey, and Earl Beorn went with him. Then the king gave leave to all the Mercians to return home, and they did so. Then it was told the king that Osgod lay at Ulps with thirty-nine ships; whereupon the king sent after the ships that he might dispatch, which before had gone homewards, but still lay at the Nore. Then Osgod fetched his wife from Bruges; and they went back again with six ships; but the rest went towards Essex, to Eadulf's-ness, and there plundered, and then returned to their ships. But there came upon them a strong wind, so that they were all lost but four persons, who were afterwards slain beyond sea. Whilst Earl Godwin and Earl Beorn lay at Pevensey with their ships, came Earl Sweyne, and with a pretence requested of Earl Beorn, who was his uncle's son, that he would be his companion to the king at Sandwich, and better his condition with him; adding, that he would swear oaths to him, and be faithful to him. Whereupon Beorn concluded, that he would not for their relationship betray him. He therefore took three companions with him, and they rode to Bosham, where his (63) ships lay, as though they should proceed to Sandwich; but they suddenly bound him, and led him to the ships, and went thence with him to Dartmouth, where they ordered him to be slain and buried deep. He was afterwards found, and Harold his cousin fetched him thence, and led him to Winchester, to the old minster, where he buried him with King Knute, his uncle. Then the king and all the army proclaimed Sweyne an outlaw. A little before this the men of Hastings and thereabout fought his two ships with their ships, and slew all the men, and brought the ships to Sandwich to the king. Eight ships had he, ere he betrayed Beorn; afterwards they all forsook him except two; whereupon he went eastward to the land of Baldwin, and sat there all the winter at Bruges, in full security. In the same year came up from Ireland thirty-six ships on the Welsh coast, and thereabout committed outrages, with the aid of Griffin, the Welsh king. The people were soon gathered against them, and there was also with them Bishop Eldred, but they had too little assistance, and the enemy came unawares on them very early in the morning, and slew on the spot many good men; but the others burst forth with the bishop. This was done on the fourth day before the calends of August. This year died the good Bishop Ednoth in Oxfordshire; and Oswy, Abbot of Thomey; and Wulfnoth, Abbot of Westminster; and King Edward gave the bishopric which Ednoth had to Ulf his priest, but it ill betided him; and he was driven from it, because he did nought like a bishop therein, so that it shameth us now to say more. Bishop Siward also died who lies at Abingdon. In this same year King Edward put nine ships out of pay; and the crews departed, and went away with the ships withal, leaving five ships only behind, for whom the king ordered twelve months pay. The same year went Bishops Hereman and Aldred to the pope at Rome on the king's errand. This year was also consecrated the great minster at Rheims, in the presence of Pope Leo and the emperor. There was also a great synod at St. Remy; (64) at which was present Pope Leo, with the Archbishops of Burgundy, of Besancon, of Treves, and of Rheims; and many wise men besides, both clergy and laity. A great synod there held they respecting the service of God, at the instance of St. Leo the pope. It is difficult to recognise all the bishops that came thither, and also abbots. King Edward sent thither Bishop Dudoc, and Abbot Wulfric, of St. Augustine's, and Elfwin, Abbot of Ramsey, with the intent that they should report to the king what was determined there concerning Christendom. This same year came Earl Sweyne into England.

((A.D. 1049. This year Sweyn came again to Denmark, and Harold. uncle of Magnus, went to Norway after Magnus was dead; and the Normans acknowledged him: and he sent hither to land concerning peace. And Sweyn also sent from Denmark, and begged of King Edward the aid of his ships. They were to be at least fifty ships: but all people opposed it. And this year also there was an earthquake, on the kalends of May, in many places in Worcester, and in Wick, and in Derby, and elsewhere; and also there was a great mortality among men, and murrain among cattle: and moreover, the wild-fire did much evil in Derbyshire and elsewhere.))

A.D. 1050. This year returned the bishops home from Rome; (65) and Earl Sweyne had his sentence of outlawry reversed. The same year died Edsy, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the fourth day before the calends of November; and also in the same year Elfric, Archbishop of York, on the eleventh before the calends of February, a very venerable man and wise, and his body lies at Peterborough. Then had King Edward a meeting of the great council in London, in mid-lent, at which he appointed Robert the Frank, who was before Bishop of London, Archbishop of Canterbury; and he, during the same Lent, went to Rome after his pall. The king meanwhile gave the see of London to Sparhawk, Abbot of Abingdon, but it was taken from him again before he was consecrated. The king also gave the abbacy of Abingdon to Bishop Rodulph his cousin. The same year he put all the lightermen out of pay. (66) The pope held a council again, at Vercelli; and Bishop Ulf came thither, where he nearly had his staff broken, had he not paid more money, because he could not perform his duties so well as he should do. The same year King Edward abolished the Danegeld which King Ethelred imposed. That was in the thirty-ninth year after it had begun. That tribute harassed all the people of England so long as is above written; and it was always paid before other imposts, which were levied indiscriminately, and vexed men variously.

((A.D. 1050. Thither also came Sweyn the earl, who before had gone from this land to Denmark, and who there had ruined himself with the Danes. He came thither with false pretences; saying that he would again be obedient to the king. And Beorn the earl promised him that he would be of assistance to him. Then, after the reconciliation of the emperor and of Baldwin, many of the ships went home, and the king remained behind at Sandwich with a few ships; and Godwin the earl also went with forty-two ships from Sandwich to Pevensey, and Beorn the earl went with him. Then was it made known to the king that Osgood lay at Ulps with thirty-nine ships; and the king then sent after the ships which before had gone home, that he might send after him. And Osgod fetched his wife from Bruges, and they went back again with six ships. And the others landed in Sussex [Essex] at Eadulf-ness, and there did harm, and went again to their ships: and then a strong wind came against them, so that they were all destroyed, except four, whose crews were slain beyond sea. While Godwin the earl and Beorn the earl lay at Pevensey, then came Sweyn the earl, and begged Beorn the earl, with fraud, who was his uncle's son, that he would be his companion to the king at Sandwich, and better his affairs with him. He went then, on account of the relationship, with three companions, with him; and he led him then towards Bosham, where his ships lay: and then they bound him, and led him on ship-board. Then went he thence with him to Dartmouth, and there ordered him to be slain, and deeply buried. Afterwards he was found, and borne to Winchester, and buried with king Canute his uncle. A little before that, the men of Hastings and thereabout, fought two of his ships with their ships; and slew all the men, and brought the ships to Sandwich to the king. Eight ships he had before he betrayed Beorn; after that all forsook him except two. In the same year arrived in the Welsh Axa, from Ireland, thirty-six ships, and thereabout did harm, with the help of Griffin the Welsh king. The people were gathered together against them; Bishop Aldred [Of Worchester] was also there with them; but they had too little power. And they came unawares upon them at very early morn; and there they slew many good men, and the others escaped with the bishop: this was done on the fourth before the kalends of August. This year died, in Oxfordshire, Oswy, Abbot of Thorney, and Wulfnoth, Abbot of Westminster; and Ulf the priest was appointed as pastor to the bishopric which Eadnoth had held; but he was after that driven away; because he did nothing bishop-like therein: so that it shameth us now to tell more about it. And Bishop Siward died: he lieth at Abingdon. And this year was consecrated the great minster at Rheims: there was Pope Leo [IX.] and the emperor [Henry III]; and there they held a great synod concerning God's service. St. Leo the pope presided at the synod: it is difficult to have a knowledge of the bishops who came there, and how many abbots: and hence, from this land were sent two -- from St. Augustine's and from Ramsey.))


(62) So Florence of Worcester, whose authority we here follow for the sake of perspicuity, though some of these events are placed in the MSS. to very different years; as the story of Beorn. Back

(63) i.e. The ships of Sweyne, who had retired thither, as before described. Back

(64) "Vid. Flor." A.D. 1049, and verbatim from him in the same year, Sim. Dunelm. "inter X. Script. p. 184, I, 10. See also Ordericus Vitalis, A.D. 1050. This dedication of the church of St. Remi, a structure well worth the attention of the architectural antiquary, is still commemorated by an annual loire, or fair, on the first of October, at which the editor was present in the year 1815, and purchased at a stall a valuable and scarce history of Rheims, from which he extracts the following account of the synod mentioned above: -- "Il fut assemble a l'occasion de la dedicace de la nouvelle eglise qu' Herimar, abbe de ce monastere, avoit fait batir, seconde par les liberalites des citoyens, etc." ("Hist. de Reims", p. 226.) But, according to our Chronicle, the pope took occasion from this synod to make some general regulations which concerned all Christendom. Back

(65) Hereman and Aldred, who went on a mission to the pope from King Edward, as stated in the preceding year. Back

(66) Nine ships were put out of commission the year before; but five being left on the pay-list for a twelvemonth, they were also now laid up. Back

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