The Northern Way

Part 5: A.D. 1052 - 1069

Page 3

A.D. 1061. This year went Bishop Aldred to Rome after his pall; which he received at the hands of Pope Nicholas. Earl Tosty and his wife also went to Rome; and the bishop and the earl met with great difficulty as they returned home. In the same year died Bishop Godwin at St. Martin's, (85) on the seventh before the ides of March; and in the self-same year died Wulfric, Abbot of St. Augustine's, in the Easterweek, on the fourteenth before the calends of May. Pope Nicholas also died; and Alexander was chosen pope, who was Bishop of Lucca. When word came to the king that the Abbot Wulfric was dead, then chose he Ethelsy, a monk of the old minster, to succeed; who followed Archbishop Stigand, and was consecrated abbot at Windsor on St. Augustine s mass-day.

((A.D. 1061. In this year died Dudoc, Bishop of Somerset, and Giso succeeded. And in the same year died Godwin, Bishop of St. Martin's, on the seventh before the ides of March. And in the self-same year died Wulfric, Abbot of St. Augustine's, within the Easter week, on the fourteenth before the kalends of May. When word came to the king that Abbot Wulfric was departed, then chose he Ethelsy the monk thereto, from the Old-Minster, who then followed Archbishop Stigand, and was consecrated abbot at Windsor, on St. Augustine's mass-day.))

A.D. 1063. This year went Earl Harold, after mid-winter, from Gloucester to Rhyddlan; which belonged to Griffin: and that habitation he burned, with his ships and all the rigging belonging thereto; and put him to flight. Then in the gang-days went Harold with his ships from Bristol about Wales; where he made a truce with the people, and they gave him hostages. Tosty meanwhile advanced with a land-force against them, and plundered the land. But in the harvest of the same year was King Griffin slain, on the nones of August, by his own men, through the war that he waged with Earl Harold. He was king over all the Welsh nation. And his head was brought to Earl Harold; who sent it to the king, with his ship's head, and the rigging therewith. King Edward committed the land to his two brothers, Blethgent and Rigwatle; who swore oaths, and gave hostages to the king and to the earl, that they would be faithful to him in all things, ready to aid him everywhere by water and land, and would pay him such tribute from the land as was paid long before to other kings.

((A.D. 1063. This year went Harold the earl, and his brother Tosty the earl, as well with a land-force as a shipforce, into Wales, and they subdued the land; and the people delivered hostages to them, and submitted; and went afterwards and slew their King Griffin, and brought to Harold his head: and he appointed another king thereto.))

A.D. 1065. This year, before Lammas, ordered Earl Harold his men to build at Portskeweth in Wales. But when he had begun, and collected many materials, and thought to have King Edward there for the purpose of hunting, even when it was all ready, came Caradoc, son of Griffin, with all the gang that he could get, and slew almost all that were building there; and they seized the materials that were there got ready. Wist we not who first advised the wicked deed. This was done on the mass-day of St. Bartholomew. Soon after this all the thanes in Yorkshire and in Northumberland gathered themselves together at York, and outlawed their Earl Tosty; slaying all the men of his clan that they could reach, both Danish and English; and took all his weapons in York, with gold and silver, and all his money that they could anywhere there find. They then sent after Morkar, son of Earl Elgar, and chose him for their earl. He went south with all the shire, and with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, till he came to Northampton; where his brother Edwin came to meet him with the men that were in his earldom. Many Britons also came with him. Harold also there met them; on whom they imposed an errand to King Edward, sending also messengers with him, and requesting that they might have Morcar for their earl. This the king granted; and sent back Harold to them, to Northampton, on the eve of St. Simon and St. Jude; and announced to them the same, and confirmed it by hand, and renewed there the laws of Knute. But the Northern men did much harm about Northampton, whilst he went on their errand: either that they slew men, and burned houses and corn; or took all the cattle that they could come at; which amounted to many thousands. Many hundred men also they took, and led northward with them; so that not only that shire, but others near it were the worse for many winters. Then Earl Tosty and his wife, and all they who acted with him, went south over sea with him to Earl Baldwin; who received them all: and they were there all the winter. About midwinter King Edward came to Westminster, and had the minster there consecrated, which he had himself built to the honour of God, and St. Peter, and all God's saints. This church-hallowing was on Childermas-day. He died on the eve of twelfth-day; and he was buried on twelfth-day in the same minster; as it is hereafter said.


          Here Edward king, (86)
          of Angles lord,
          sent his stedfast
          soul to Christ.
          In the kingdom of God
          a holy spirit!
          He in the world here
          abode awhile,
          in the kingly throng
          of council sage.
          Four and twenty
          winters wielding
          the sceptre freely,
          wealth he dispensed.
          In the tide of health,
          the youthful monarch,
          offspring of Ethelred!
          ruled well his subjects;
          the Welsh and the Scots,
          and the Britons also,
          Angles and Saxons
          relations of old.
          So apprehend
          the first in rank,
          that to Edward all
          the noble king
          were firmly held
          high-seated men.
          Blithe-minded aye
          was the harmless king;
          though he long ere,
          of land bereft,
          abode in exile
          wide on the earth;
          when Knute o'ercame
          the kin of Ethelred,
          and the Danes wielded
          the dear kingdom
          of Engle-land.
          Eight and twenty
          winters' rounds
          they wealth dispensed.
          Then came forth
          free in his chambers,
          in royal array,
          good, pure, and mild,
          Edward the noble;
          by his country defended --
          by land and people.
          Until suddenly came
          the bitter Death
          and this king so dear
          snatched from the earth.
          Angels carried
          his soul sincere
          into the light of heaven.
          But the prudent king
          had settled the realm
          on high-born men --
          on Harold himself,
          the noble earl;
          who in every season
          faithfully heard
          and obeyed his lord,
          in word and deed;
          nor gave to any
          what might be wanted
          by the nation's king.
This year also was Earl Harold hallowed to king; but he enjoyed little tranquillity therein the while that he wielded the kingdom.

((A.D. 1065. And the man-slaying was on St. Bartholomew's mass-day. And then, after Michael's-mass, all the thanes in Yorkshire went to York, and there slew all Earl Tosty's household servants whom they might hear of, and took his treasures: and Tosty was then at Britford with the king. And then, very soon thereafter, was a great council at Northampton; and then at Oxford on the day of Simon and Jude. And there was Harold the earl, and would work their reconciliation if he might, but he could not: but all his earldom him unanimously forsook and outlawed, and all who with him lawlessness upheld, because he robbed God first, and all those bereaved over whom he had power of life and of land. And they then took to themselves Morkar for earl; and Tosty went then over sea, and his wife with him, to Baldwin's land, and they took up their winter residence at St. Omer's.))

A.D. 1066. This year came King Harold from York to Westminster, on the Easter succeeding the midwinter when the king (Edward) died. Easter was then on the sixteenth day before the calends of May. Then was over all England such a token seen as no man ever saw before. Some men said that it was the comet-star, which others denominate the long-hair'd star. It appeared first on the eve called "Litania major", that is, on the eighth before the calends off May; and so shone all the week. Soon after this came in Earl Tosty from beyond sea into the Isle of Wight, with as large a fleet as he could get; and he was there supplied with money and provisions. Thence he proceeded, and committed outrages everywhere by the sea-coast where he could land, until he came to Sandwich. When it was told King Harold, who was in London, that his brother Tosty was come to Sandwich, he gathered so large a force, naval and military, as no king before collected in this land; for it was credibly reported that Earl William from Normandy, King Edward's cousin, would come hither and gain this land; just as it afterwards happened. When Tosty understood that King Harold was on the way to Sandwich, he departed thence, and took some of the boatmen with him, willing and unwilling, and went north into the Humber with sixty skips; whence he plundered in Lindsey, and there slew many good men. When the Earls Edwin and Morkar understood that, they came hither, and drove him from the land. And the boatmen forsook him. Then he went to Scotland with twelve smacks; and the king of the Scots entertained him, and aided him with provisions; and he abode there all the summer. There met him Harold, King of Norway, with three hundred ships. And Tosty submitted to him, and became his man. (87) Then came King Harold (88) to Sandwich, where he awaited his fleet; for it was long ere it could be collected: but when it was assembled, he went into the Isle of Wight, and there lay all the summer and the autumn. There was also a land-force every where by the sea, though it availed nought in the end. It was now the nativity of St. Mary, when the provisioning of the men began; and no man could keep them there any longer. They therefore had leave to go home: and the king rode up, and the ships were driven to London; but many perished ere they came thither. When the ships were come home, then came Harald, King of Norway, north into the Tine, unawares, with a very great sea-force -- no small one; that might be, with three hundred ships or more; and Earl Tosty came to him with all those that he had got; just as they had before said: and they both then went up with all the fleet along the Ouse toward York. (89) When it was told

ENDNOTES:

(85) Lye interprets it erroneously the "festival" of St. Martin. -- "ad S. Martini festum:" whereas the expression relates to the place, not to the time of his death, which is mentioned immediately afterwards. Back

(86) This threnodia on the death of Edward the Confessor will be found to correspond, both in metre and expression, with the poetical paraphrase of Genesis ascribed to Caedmon. Back

(87) These facts, though stated in one MS. only, prove the early cooperation of Tosty with the King of Norway. It is remarkable that this statement is confirmed by Snorre, who says that Tosty was with Harald, the King of Norway, in all these expeditions. Vid "Antiq. Celto-Scand." p. 204. Back

(88) i.e. Harold, King of England; "our" king, as we find him Afterwards called in B iv., to distinguish him from Harald, King of Norway. Back

(89) Not only the twelve smacks with which he went into Scotland during the summer, as before stated, but an accession of force from all quarters. Back

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