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tree, of very stunted growth, around which the hostile ranks closed in battle, amid the loud shouts of all. After they had fought for some time boldly and bravely on both sides, tho pagans, by the Divine judgment, were no longer able to bear the onset of the Christians, and the greater part of them being slain, the rest took to a disgraceful flight.
At this place one of the two kings of the pagans, and five of their earls, were slain, and many thousands of them besides who fell at that spot, and in various places, scattered over the whole breadth of the plain of Eschedun. There fell there king Baiseg, and earl Sydroc the elder, and another earl Sydroc the younger, earl Osbern, earl Freana, and earl Harold. The whole army of the pagans pursued its flight all night, until next day, when most who had escaped reached the castle.
In four days70 after these events, Ethelred, with his brother Alfred, uniting their forces, marched to Basing, again to fight with the pagans, and after a prolonged combat the pagans at length gained the victory. Again, after a lapse of two months, king Ethelred and his brother Alfred, after having long fought with the pagans, who had divided themselves into two bodies, conquered them at Meretun,71 putting them all to flight; but these having again rallied, many on both sides were slain, and the pagans at last gained the day.
The same year, after Easter, king Ethelred departed this life, after having manfully ruled the kingdom five years amid much tribulation, on which his brother Alfred succeeded him as king, in the year from the incarnation of our Lord 872. He was the most accomplished among the Saxon poets, most watchful in the service of God, and most discreet in the exercise of justice. His queen Elswisa bore him two sons, Edward and Egelward, and three daughters, Egelfleda, queen of the Mercians, Ethelgeva, a nun, and Elethritha.
At the completion of one year72 from the beginning of his reign, at a hill called Walton,73 he fought a most severe battle
70 Asser and Roger of Wendover say fourteen days; which is more probable. 71 Merton.
15 " One month" is a various reading here, and is supported by Roger of Wendover.
'* A various reading here, supported by Asser, Roger de Wendover, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, is Wilton, but Bronipton calls the place Walton in Sussex.
with a handful of men against the pagans; hut, alas! the enemy was victorious; nor indeed is it to be wondered at, that the Christians had but a small number of men in the engagement; for in a single year they had been worn out by eight battles against the pagans, in which one of their kings and nine dukes, with innumerable troops, had been slain.
In the year 872, Alchun, bishop of the Wiccii,74 having departed this life, "Werefrith, the foster-father of the holy church of Worcester, and a man most learned in the holy scriptures, was ordained bishop by Ethered archbishop of Canterbury, on the seventh day before the ides of June, being the day of Pentecost; he, at the request of king Alfred, translated the books of the dialogues of the pope Saint Gregory, from the Latin into the Saxon tongue. At the same period, the Northumbrians expelled their king, Egbert, and their archbishop Wulpher. An army of the pagans came to London, and wintered there, on which the Mercians made a treaty with them.
In the year 873, the said army left London, and first proceeded to the country of the Northumbrians, and wintered there in the district which is called Lindesig,73 at a place called Torkeseie,76 on which the Mercians again made a treaty of peace with them. Egbert the king of Northumbria dying, his successor was Reisig, who reigned three years. Wulpher, also, was this year recalled to his see.
In the year 874, the above-mentioned army left Lindesey, and, entering Mercia, wintered at a place which is called Reopadun.7' They also expelled Burrhed king of Mercia, from his kingdom, in the twenty-second year of his reign. Going to Rome, he died there, and was honorably buried in the church of Saint Mary, in the school of the Saxons. After his expulsion, the Danes reduced the kingdom of the Mercians to subjection, and committed it to the charge of a certain military officer of that nation, Ceohvulph by name, on condition that whenever they chose, without any subterfuge, they might take and keep it.
74 The inhabitants of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
75 Lindesey in Lincolnshire.
76 Of this place Lambarde says; "it is a town in Lincolnshire, which, because it stood near the water, and was much washed therewith, obtained the name of an island, for so the latter part of the word, 'eie' doth signify, the former being the name of some person."
77 Repton in Derbyshire.
In the year 875, the army of the pagans, leaving Beopadun, divided into two bodies, one part of which, with Alfdan, proceeded to the country of the Northumbrians, and reduced the whole kingdom of Northumbria to subjection. Thereupon Erdulph, bishop of Lindisfarne, and abbat Edred carried away the body of Saint Cuthbert from the island of Lindisfarne and wandered about with it for a period of seven years. The other division of the army with Guder,79 Osbitel, and Amund, their three kings, wintered at Grantebrige.80
King Alfred, in a naval engagement with six ships of the pagans, captured one, and the rest escaped by flight.
In the year 876, the pagan king Halden divided Northumbria between himself and his followers. Reisig, king of the Northumbrians, died, and was succeeded by Egbert the Second. Rollo, the pagan, a Dane by birth, with his followers this year entered Normandy, on the fifteenth day before the calends of December; he was the first duke of the Normans, and on being baptized thirty years afterwards, was named Robert.
The above-mentioned army sallying forth by night from Grantebrige, entered a fortified place which is called Werham.81 On learning their sudden arrival, the king of the Saxons made a treaty with them, on condition that having first given hostages,62 they should depart from the kingdom. However, after their usual custom, caring nothing for hostages or oaths, they broke the treaty, and one night took the road to Examcester,83 which in the British language is called Caer-wisc.84
In the year 877, the above-mentioned army left Examcester, and marching to Cyppanham,8* a royal town, passed the winter there. King Alfred in these days endured great tribulations, and lived a life of disquietude. In the same year also, Inguar and Haldene came from the country of the Demetae,86 in which they had wintered, like ravening wolves, after having slaughtered multitudes of Christians there and burned the monasteries, and sailing to Devonshire, were slain there by the
79 The various reading supported by the other chronicles is Guthrum. * Cambridge. 81 Wareham. 82 The Danes, namely.
83 Exeter, "the fortified city on the Ex."
84 "The city on the river Wise." 83 Chippenham.
% The original has "De Metica regione," which is obviously an error for "de DemeticSt regione." The Demetae were the people of the coast of South Wales.
most valiant thanes of king Alfred, together with twelve hundred men, at Cernwieh,87 in which place the said king's thanes had shut themselves up for safety.
King Alfred being encouraged in a vision by Saint Cuthbert, fought against the Danes, at the time and place where the saint had commanded him; and having gained the victory, from 'that time forward was always invincible and a terror to the foe. For the king, putting his trust in the Lord, came with an immense army to the place which is called Edderandun,88 near which he found the forces of the enemy prepared for battle. On this, a severe battle being fought, which lasted the greater part of the day, the pagans were conquered and put to flight; the rest being hemmed in by the king's army, fearing the rigours of famine and cold, and dreading the severity of the king, with tears and entreaties, sued for peace, and offered hostages together with oaths. In addition to this, their king, whose name was Guthrum, declared that he wished to become a Christian; on which, king Alfred having granted all these requests, the above-named king of the pagans, together with thirty chosen men of his army, met him at a place which is called Aalr,83 and king Alfred, receiving him as his son by adoption, raised him from the holy font of baptism, and named him Ethelstan, and enriched him and all his companions who had been baptized with him, with many presents. He remained with the king twelve days, receiving during that time most honorable entertainment, and the king bestowed on him East Anglia, over which Saint Edmund had reigned.
In the year 878, the above-mentioned army of pagans left Scippanham90 as they had promised, and coming to Cirencester remained there one year. In the same year also, an immense army of the pagans came from the parts beyond the sea to the river Thames, and joined the forces before-mentioned. In the same year, an eclipse of the sun took place, between the' ninth hour" and vespers.
In the year 879, the army of the pagans, leaving Cirencester,
37 More properly Kyowith, near Bideford, in North Devon. Hubberstone, the spot where Hubba was buried, is still pointed out. 8,1 Probably Edington, in Wiltshire.
89 Called also "Aire," or " Aller," near the isle of Athelney, in Somersetshire. 90 Chippenham.
91 Three o'clock in the afternoon. This eclipse took place on the 14t!i of March, 880.
proceeded to East Anglia, and parcelling out that country, began to take up their abode there. The pagans, who had passed the winter in the island of Hame," began to visit France," and for one year took their quarters at Ghent.
In the year 880, the above-mentioned army of the pagans, having provided themselves with horses, came into the territories of the Franks, on which the Franks engaged them in battle, and came off victorious. The pagans, having now obtained horses, made incursions on every side. In these days, numerous monasteries in that kingdom were demolished and destroyed. In consequence of this, the brethren of the monastery of the abbat Saint Benedict, disinterred his remains from the tomb where they had been deposited, and taking them with them, wandered to and fro.
In the year 881, the above-mentioned army, having towed their ships up the river Meuse, into the interior of France, wintered there one year. In the same year, king Alfred, engaging in a naval fight with the ships of the pagans, overcame them, and took two, after having slain all that were in them. After this, he inflicted numerous wounds upon the commanders of two ships, till at last, laying down their arms, with prayers and entreaties they surrendered to him.
In the year 882, the army of the pagans so often mentioned, took possession of Cundoth," and quartered there one year. The army, which, under the command of Alfdene, the king of the pagans, had invaded Northumbria, had for some time been without a leader, in consequence, as I have already mentioned, of the slaughter of Alfdene and Inguar by the thanes of king Alfred: but now, having subdued the inhabitants of the country, they took possession of it, and began to take up thenabode there, and to inhabit the districts of Northumbria that they had before laid waste.
Upon this, Saint Cuthbert, appearing in a vision to abbat Edred, commanded him to tell the bishop and all the army of the English and the Danes, that, paying the price of his redemption, they must redeem Cuthred, the son of Hardicanute, whom
92 This is the place which the other chroniclers call Fulenham, now Fulham, near London.
93 Roger of Wendorer says that the Danes, who wintered at Fulham, "arrived from the parts of Gaul."
M Or " Cundaht," now Conde, in France.