The Northern Way

Part 5: A.D. 1052 - 1069

Page 5

what he of her would have done; for that she should increase the glory of God in this land, lead the king aright from the path of error, bend him and his people together to a better way, and suppress the bad customs which the nation formerly followed: all which she afterwards did. The king therefore received her, though it was against her will, and was pleased with her manners, and thanked God, who in his might had given him such a match. He wisely bethought himself, as he was a prudent man, and turned himself to God, and renounced all impurity; accordingly, as the apostle Paul, the teacher of all the gentries, saith: "Salvabitur vir infidelis per mulierem fidelem; sic et mulier infidelis per virum fidelem," etc.: that is in our language, "Full oft the unbelieving husband is sanctified and healed through the believing wife, and so belike the wife through the believing husband." This queen aforesaid performed afterwards many useful deeds in this land to the glory of God, and also in her royal estate she well conducted herself, as her nature was. Of a faithful and noble kin was she sprung. Her father was Edward Etheling, son of King Edmund. Edmund was the son of Ethelred; Ethelred the son of Edgar; Edgar the son of Edred; and so forth in that royal line: and her maternal kindred goeth to the Emperor Henry, who had the sovereignty over Rome. This year went out Githa, Harold's mother, and the wives of many good men with her, to the Flat-Holm, and there abode some time; and so departed thence over sea to St. Omer's. This Easter came the king to Winchester; and Easter was then on the tenth before the calends of April. Soon after this came the Lady Matilda hither to this land; and Archbishop Eldred hallowed her to queen at Westminster on Whit Sunday. Then it was told the king, that the people in the North had gathered themselves together, and would stand against him if he came. Whereupon he went to Nottingham, and wrought there a castle; and so advanced to York, and there wrought two castles; and the same at Lincoln, and everywhere in that quarter. Then Earl Gospatric and the best men went into Scotland. Amidst this came one of Harold's sons from Ireland with a naval force into the mouth of the Avon unawares, and plundered soon over all that quarter; whence they went to Bristol, and would have stormed the town; but the people bravely withstood them. When they could gain nothing from the town, they went to their ships with the booty which they had acquired by plunder; and then they advanced upon Somersetshire, and there went up; and Ednoth, master of the horse, fought with them; but he was there slain, and many good men on either side; and those that were left departed thence.

A.D. 1068. This year King William gave Earl Robert the earldom over Northumberland; but the landsmen attacked him in the town of Durham, and slew him, and nine hundred men with him. Soon afterwards Edgar Etheling came with all the Northumbrians to York; and the townsmen made a treaty with him: but King William came from the South unawares on them with a large army, and put them to flight, and slew on the spot those who could not escape; which were many hundred men; and plundered the town. St. Peter's minster he made a profanation, and all other places also he despoiled and trampled upon; and the etheling went back again to Scotland. After this came Harold's sons from Ireland, about midsummer, with sixty-four ships into the mouth of the Taft, where they unwarily landed: and Earl Breon came unawares against them with a large army, and fought with them, and slew there all the best men that were in the fleet; and the others, being small forces, escaped to the ships: and Harold's sons went back to Ireland again.

A.D. 1069. This year died Aldred, Archbishop of York; and he is there buried, at his see. He died on the day of Protus and Hyacinthus, having held the see with much dignity ten years wanting only fifteen weeks. Soon after this came from Denmark three of the sons of King Sweyne with two hundred and forty ships, together with Earl Esborn and Earl Thurkill, into the Humber; where they were met by the child Edgar, and Earl Waltheof, and Merle-Sweyne, and Earl Gospatric with the Northumbrians, and all the landsmen; riding and marching full merrily with an immense army: and so all unanimously advanced to York; where they stormed and demolished the castle, and won innumerable treasures therein; slew there many hundreds of Frenchmen, and led many with them to the ships; but, ere that the shipmen came thither, the Frenchmen had burned the city, and also the holy minster of St. Peter had they entirely plundered, and destroyed with fire. When the king heard this, then went he northward with all the force that he could collect, despoiling and laying waste the shire withal; whilst the fleet lay all the winter in the Humber, where the king could not come at them. The king was in York on Christmas Day, and so all the winter on land, and came to Winchester at Easter. Bishop Egelric, who was at Peterborough, was this year betrayed, and led to Westminster; and his brother Egelwine was outlawed. This year also died Brand, Abbot of Peterborough, on the fifth before the calends of December.

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